3 Key Ingredients to Rock Your First Book Tour

You've finally made the commitment to be a self-published author. Your book's printed, you made an amazing author website, and you can’t wait to share your work with the world.

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So what comes next?

If you’re looking to get exposure for your book and yourself as an author, a book tour may be your best bet. 

Simply put, a book tour is a series of publicity events like book signings, interviews and conferences. Each tour is typically aimed toward a specific marketing goal, like getting exposure for your new blog or promoting your book.

There’s no guarantee you’ll see a connection between your book tour and seeing a boom in your book sales. So it’s best not to plan a book tour with the sole purpose of more income. 

Instead, imagine the readers you can reach that you wouldn’t have otherwise, and focus on building personal relationships with established and new fans. 

Plus, the readers who attend your events could spread the word about how great it was, which could potentially lead to more book sales in the long run.

Before you pack your bags and hit the road with a suitcase of books in tow, here’s your guide to crushing it on your first DIY book tour as a self-published author.

Phase 1: Planning Your Book Tour

You’ll want to build your tour around your book release, so you’ll need to begin planning a few months before the event to give the book stores or venues ample notice. 

Make sure your book tour plan also includes the following:

  • An outline including the cities/locations you’d most like to tour in. Consider where you may have family or friends you could stay with, or places where you know people who can connect you to a network. Be sure to also pay attention to where your current following is by checking your social media demographics. 
  • Create a potential timeline / tour itinerary including specific dates and times. This may seem like lot of detail early on, but it’s helpful in helping you form your pitch.
  • Research and list possible venues. This could be bookstores, libraries, community centers…get creative!
  • Plan your housing.

Phase 2: Promote Your Tour

Once you’ve got your tour planned and dates verified with your venues, it’s time to promote the heck out of your tour to get readers to show up.

Chances are, by promoting your book you’ve done a lot of the work already, like creating a killer author website, social media profiles, building your email list, etc. 

To promote your book, list your promotional resources, then create an editorial calendar that includes dates, any themes you may want to follow that align with your brand, what platforms you plan to update on, and what content you plan to use. 

Use this calendar as a guide to organizing your social media posts to follow the timeline of your book tour. 

It can also save you time scrambling for a new creative post every day by having your content prepared for scheduling way ahead of time. 

Next, you’ll want to find a creative way to let your current audience in on the actual experience of the book tour. 

Consider doing this using fun content like a vlog, memes, Facebook event pages, or maybe even guest interviews on a podcast.  

You can also add your book tour to listings on sites like http://booksigningevent.com.

Phase 3: Creating a Media Kit

First and foremost, if you’re doing a book tour on your own dime (which, as a self-published author, is highly likely), you’ll want to find some sponsors.

A media kit is going to be an essential tool for attracting media attention, as well as solidifying the legitimacy of your tour to gain sponsors.

Your press kit should include:

  • An author bio with a headshot
  • A book description
  • Endorsements
  • A press release for your book
  • Social media followers
  • Tentative tour itinerary
  • A sample Q&A with the author
  • A description of the event you’re planning or workshop you’re leading
  • Why you chose the sponsor you did
  • What you can provide the sponsor. This could be anything from their logos being displayed at your event, guest speakers from their company, regular posts on your social media bout them, etc. 
  • How much money you need, and by when

Phase 4: Outreach

How to Reach Out to Sponsors: Make a list of sponsors whose brands align with your work. For your first tour, stick to smaller businesses you know could benefit from exposure on your tour. 

To choose quality sponsors, be sure to research their mission, audience reach, and whether they stay on top of their social media and are likely to do some cross-promotion with you. 

Find a marketing or sponsorship contact, and edit your media kit to suit their needs. Include a personal message about why you chose them and how their mission sticks out to you. 

Track the dates your reached out to sponsors, and plan to follow up in one week. 

Venues: Once your sponsors and budget are set, it’s time to confirm your locations. 

When calling or emailing possible venues you listed during the planning phase, be sure to remember that your book signing is bringing them business, so it’s okay to be persistent! 

Be sure to cover details like if food is allowed (if you plan on bringing snacks) any equipment you would need to bring (like tables or microphones), and what they hope to get from the event. 

Have a loose schedule handy to give them a better idea of your plan. 

Places to stay: Be sure to contact any family members or friends you plan to stay with, with plenty of time for them to prepare. 

If they fall through or you don’t know anyone in a city you plan to visit, consider sites like couchsurfing or Airbnb to find a cheap place to stay for the night. 

Phase 5: The Final Touches

Time to tie together any loose ends and put the final touches on your book tour! 

You can begin executing the promotion plan you created in phase 1 while you piece together the final details. 

Be sure to consider getting visual aides designed, preparing any digital presentations you may want to have, and planning for any other refreshments or prizes you want to offer your audiences.

You’re not quite finished after you’ve launched promotions! Face to face connections are vital to creating a loyal following. Learn how to impress at your next book signing >

Adam user

President & CEO,
Steuben Press

Adam Ellis has worked in the book industry since 2002, when he was first exposed to the wonderful world of Self Publishing. Over the years he has worked with thousands of authors and helped to produce, print and publish countless books.


When I was looking for a printer for my first book I put the project on a nationwide search site. The very first applicant was Steuben Press. Their estimate remained competitive as more than thirty others flooded in. Since then, through two more books and multiple printings, Steuben Press has proved themselves efficient, timely, responsive, and when I call, it's like in "Cheers," a place they know your name. I recommend them without reservation.

– John McReynolds, California

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