I’m delighted to make available a new version of my “Tips for Going on Book Tour” with more details and recommendations.
I wrote the original version of these tips after the 2011 West Coast tour for Andy Cornell’s book Oppose and Propose!: Lessons from Movement for a New Society, collaboratively published by AK Press and the Institute for Anarchist Studies. Harjit Singh Gill and I, both board members of the IAS, went along with Andy to help out with book-selling, driving, and introducing events. The tour, which included seven events between Santa Cruz and Seattle, was a wonderful experience, full of new comrades and great, organizing-oriented discussions.
Besides being excited about Andy’s book, part of what motivated me to co-organize and go on the Oppose and Propose! tour was to develop my book tour organizing skills more generally. I initially wrote the tip sheet as a way to consolidate and share what I’d learned. I’m grateful to Aid and Abet for hosting it alongside other very useful resources on their website.
While touring with Another Politics in 2014-2015, I consistently returned to these tips and used them to build timelines and checklists. Altogether, I organized three tour legs – on the West Coast, across Canada, and along the U.S. East Coast – involving more than 60 events in 35 cities. Throughout this experience, I learned new things about tour organizing and reconsidered some of what I thought I knew. I’ve tried to distill these lessons into the revised and expanded tip sheet.
Most of the available models for book touring are based on entrepreneurship, self-promotion, and money-making. And sadly, these tend to be the default models even within left academic and activist circles. However, there are radical authors – individuals and groups – creating and practicing alternative touring approaches primarily aimed at fostering collective reflection and movement-building. I offer this tip sheet in the hopes of encouraging and supporting these kinds of approaches.