Bloody Mary and Whiskey Sour are the first two in Konrath’s Lt. Jack Daniels mystery series. View Slideshow Author J.A. Konrath sold his first book to Hyperion as part of a three book deal for his Lt. Jacqueline “Jack” Daniels thriller series. To promote the first book, Konrath’s publisher sent him out on an 11-bookstore tour. But by utilizing the GPS device in his rental car, he ended up visiting 106 bookstores on that tour.
His ability to use the technology to find more places to promote his book impressed his publisher enough that this summer, Hyperion is sending Konrath out for a two-month, 500 bookstore tour.
By using his GPS to pinpoint the locations of as many booksellers as possible, Konrath plans to make more than eight stops a day. He realized the opportunity when he started playing with the device.
“I could punch in Borders or Barnes & Noble or Waldenbooks and it would not only find all of the ones within 50 miles for me, it would give me their phone numbers so I could call them first, from the car, to let them know I was coming,” Konrath said. “This could not have been done even three years ago. The fact that you could do it now was absolutely mind blowing for me.”
Meanwhile, as any published writer will tell you, most authors don’t to go on book tours at all. Konrath was determined to impress his publisher so they’d send him on future tours. He also wanted to sell as many books as possible.
“I’m spreading myself thin here,” Konrath said. “Visiting eight stores a day for 70 days is very difficult.”
His efforts seem to be paying off. Authors who tour usually only get a few days or weeks, but Hyperion is sending him on the road for two full months, expenses paid.
“Joe works so hard, you want to do whatever you can to help,” said Charlie Davidson, a publicist at Hyperion.
Author and marketing expert M.J. Rose said utilizing technology is invaluable for authors, especially those who aren’t going on extensive book tours. “Blogs can be set up for free, and can do everything your website does, for a fraction of the cost, and you can do it yourself. With a blog campaign and blog ads, for $5,000, you can get two solid weeks of marketing on the net. It’s viral marketing. And viral marketing is the best thing that has ever happened for authors.”
Konrath’s popular blog A Newbie’s Guide To Publishing will be doing its work online while he’s out visiting bookstores.
And you can’t argue with success: Hyperion just signed a new contract with Konrath for the next three books in the Lt. “Jack” Daniels series.
Setting out with his GPS device this summer, Konrath is confident he can make it to all 500 bookstores. “If there’s road construction, if a bridge is out, anything like that, the device communicates with the satellite, and the satellite says, ‘Hey, you know, up here you’re going to have some problems, so maybe we should reroute you to here.'”
Konrath said his GPS device is also helpful for another problem common to the solo traveler.
“It does it all in a sexy voice, too,” he said. “Sometimes you get lonely on the road, let me tell you, and sometimes I’ll veer off course just so I can hear her say, ‘Recalculating.’ Ooh, I get chills just thinking about it.”