1. Find a slew of cool independent bookstores in what looks like a doable territory. Send them a glowing report on your new book. (“Rocks.”) Or something even more persuasive.
2. Invite another author to travel with you. The bookstore will see it as a two-fer. Louise Marley, for example, is excellent, except she is cruel to dogs.
3. When invitations come in, line them up in a doable tour. Send ISBNs, photo, bio and a few cogent quotes from reviewers, such as “This book rocks.”
4. Send invitations to a geographical contact list showing all local signings. Send press releases to the local papers. Promote on website and all the guerrilla ways you have. Send bookmarks on ahead so the store can start tucking them in other books like yours.
5. The week before, confirm time and date with bookstore.
6. Make friends with store dog, even if it barks (there will be revenge later). Talk to the sales staff if they’re not too busy. Let them see a personable side of you, even if you have been driving all day and your butt hurts. Be appreciative of store efforts, even if only your sister-in-law shows up.
7. Ask if you can leave fliers behind to help move the signed stock out the door in the coming weeks.
8. If you have strangled a spaniel, leave quickly.
9. Gossip, complain, brag and laugh with traveling companion. It’s not all work.
10. Write a thank you note.