Look At All Those People Having Fun Wrong. The Still Not a Real Writer Book Tour 2017 Recap.

I am home from my 2017 book tour for a few days, and then I’m off to GenCon. After that I’ve still got DragonCon, Salt Lake City ComicCon, and HonorCon. But while I’m home and recovering from tour related brain damage, it’s recap time!

Overall it looks like Monster Hunter Siege is on track to surpass Nemesis as my biggest release ever, which is awesome. I’m pretty sure this is the most books I’ve ever signed on tour, and the most people I’ve had come out. It was all good, but a few of the stops had attendance that was just plain nuts.

I started in Florida, with a small signing in St. Petersburg. Then the next morning it was off to Tampa Bay ComicCon, with Jody Lynn Nye, Mike Stackpole, Brian McCLellan, and Janny Wurts. I’ve been to a bunch of Cons around the country, but this one didn’t strike me as a very reader based con. There didn’t seem to be much of a writing track. First day’s sales were zilch, second day was okay, but a fraction of what I do at Salt Lake or DragonCon.

I still got to meet a lot of cool people though. Plus, I ate a whole lot of authentic Cuban food (you will notice that my favorite part of book tour is eating whatever the locals eat).

Up next was New Orleans. Surprisingly I had never been to Louisiana before (I’ve been to 45 US states now. I still need to do Alaska, Hawaii, the Dakotas, and Maine) so I used my first day in the area to take the rental car all over to explore. My usual book tour trick is to hit as many of the book stores in the area as I can, sign the stock, meet the staff, etc. The reason being that if you have a store with a fan on staff, you sell about ten times as many books as a store where the staff don’t know you. Over the course of this trip I hit about 30 stores (not including the ones I was officially signing at).

The second day I mostly walked around and played tourist until the book signing. I found the French quarter to be mostly dive bars and hippy dippy t-shirt shops. The Garden District was pretty neat. There was so much good Creole food. I ate turtle, alligator, oysters, gumbo, and jambalaya. I went to really fancy places with jazz bands playing, and also little hole in the wall places. All of which was pretty freaking awesome. (seriously, I gain like 20 pounds every book tour, lose it by the next tour, repeat)

Tour New Orleans

It was like 105 and really flipping humid, so I’m impressed these guys came to the signing.

Then I flew to San Antonio, where I would be driving from city to city over the next few days. Only I was in for a surprise, because as I was coming down the escalator I saw a friend of mine (Speaker to Lab Animals) which is weird, because I never post my flight schedule anywhere. But he said that this was just a coincidence, because he was here to meet another friend, and that he’d love to introduce me to her. It turned out the real reason Speaker was there was to record my reaction, because when I walked around the corner, my wife was waiting for me.

Bridget knows I get lonely and go all Hyper Focused Road Warrior Mode for book tour, so months ago she decided to surprise me and fly out for the Texas part of the tour. Apparently everybody knew this except for me. (they called it Operation Taco) and all of our friends in Texas decided to really up their game since the Lovely Mrs. Correia was going to be there. It was the highlight of my trip, and I was really glad I got to hang out with her for a few days.

Also, fellow Baen author and Book Bomb alumni Dave Butler was going to be in Texas while I was there, so he joined in the signings. At each stop he would take the first half an hour to play some songs from his book and read a chapter. Then I’d talk and answer questions for about an hour, then we’d sign.

Up first was San Antonio, a city that I’ve actually been to a bunch of times, but never as a writer (that’s where Lackland AFB is, and my old company had contracts there).  I really like San Antonio. And apparently San Antonio likes me. 😀

Tour San Antonio 1

 

Tour San Antonio 2

 

That was a pretty big signing. The poor ladies who worked at the Twig didn’t get out of there until way after they were supposed to be closed.

But we hadn’t seen anything yet. Up next was Austin.

We spent the day getting a tour of the city from CorreiaTech’s marketing daimyo, Jack Wylder and his lovely wife. And we ate soooooo much barbecue. Then we went to the signing, where a massive crowd had already formed.

Tour Austin 1

Yeah. I wasn’t kidding when I said massive.

Tour Austin 2

Tour Austin 3

Look at that line. It just kept going up and down the aisles. I was signing for a long time. It was one of the biggest signings I’ve ever and and it was pretty bad ass.

Then we went to Dallas. And Dallas must have sworn a blood oath that they would not be out done by Austin, so they threw down, and brought pretty much the whole city to the book store. I walked into this massive store, and there was just this line that kept on going and going.

Tour Dallas 1

Tour Dallas 2

 

Tour Dallas 3

Tour Dallas 6

Tour Dallas 7

Everything is bigger in Texas. Including book signings apparently.

The neat part is the book store staff said that despite the size of the crowd, my fans were about the nicest people they’d ever had. Nobody was pushy, bossy, or entitled. It takes a long time to cycle through signing that many books (like seriously, that dude who said 500 was routine is an idiot, just because of the logistics) yet the fans in line just kind of hung out and had conversations while they waited. The book store employees were kind of gee whized by how cool you guys were.

Then someone asked me to do an Atlas Shrugged pose with Wendell the Manatee for a pic (I had told them my pitch for the Target Rich Environment cover was me doing Atlas Shrugged holding up Wendell with Bridget doing a Boris Vallejo style leg cling), and Bridget saw and came over to pose too.

Tour Atlas Shrugged

So majestic.

Up next, Minneapolis. My wife’s flight home meant that I needed to take her to the airport at like 4 in the morning. Luckily, this worked out perfectly because my later flight had mechanical delays and was getting delayed four hours already, and possibly canceled. Which meant that I would miss the Uncle Hugos signing entirely.  But since I was there so early to drop Bridget off, I was able to squeak in and throw down my frequent flier powers and get moved to a different flight.

That’s the downside of the fly/sign, fly/sign, nature of book tour. One bad flight and you’re screwed.

But I made it and got to see these guys.

Tour Minn 1

Tour Minn 2

I always go to Uncle Hugo’s, because they ship autographed copies, and they’re the folks who introduced my self published book to Toni Weisskopf all those years ago.

Then I flew to Seattle.

Tour Seattle

Speaking of food, one of my fans in Seattle (who probably wants to remain unidentified) makes a lot of money, and is a bigger foodie than I am. So he took me out for Kobe beef steaks. Lots and lots of Kobe beef. He’d found out I’d never tried the most legendary beef in the world and that needed to be remedied. Holy moly, can’t even properly describe it. It’s like meat butter that melts in your mouth. They are magical cows, fed only sake and rainbows, massaged daily by virgins from the finest samurai families.

Then I drove to Portland, hitting a whole bunch of book stores along the way.

On interesting observation about that. When I first started doing book store drive bys, they’d have maybe one or two copies of my books. And odds are nobody there had ever heard of me. Nine years of doing this, and most of the time they knew who I was, I ran into a lot of employee/fans, and now there is usually a nice Larry Correia section on the shelf (it is all about turning over that back list) That’s why I keep telling aspiring writers, the most important thing you can do for your career is be prolific.

Tour Portland

Portland was a good signing too, which is fitting, since this is the store where I was informed by a helpful SJW that real writers routinely have 500 people at a book signing. To put that in perspective, I’d have to add those Austin and Dallas pics together to get close to that, so I stand in awe of how fast Real Authors must sign, because those took hours to get through. 😀

Then I went to San Diego. Great bunch of people. I always love signing there.

Tour San Diego

Then after several days of nice coastal weather, it was off to Phoenix. Where the sick and weak perish, and only the strong survive! (okay, it was only 110, but it was a dry 110).

Tour Phoenix

The next morning I flew back to Utah, where I had one last signing at my local B&N.

Tour Layton

Tour Layton 2

I was pretty much incoherent at this point.

That was a lot of fun, I really love my fans. Seriously, I wouldn’t trade you guys for a million Chinese robots, but I’m also really glad to be home (briefly at least).

 

DRAGON AWARDS! Monster Hunter Grunge is a finalist. Anyone can vote!
Interview with author Sarah A. Hoyt

53 thoughts on “Look At All Those People Having Fun Wrong. The Still Not a Real Writer Book Tour 2017 Recap.”

  1. It was great to finally meet you and Dallas. I admit I fan boyed a bit when I looked through the photos of the Dallas siging and I’m in most of them granted I am hard to miss. I only wish I had stayed just a bit longer to see the pose in person.

  2. I remember the first B&N signing in Utah I went to and you and I chatted for 15 minutes and then a couple other guys showed. Big difference! Enjoyed your talk last week. How many people can talk for 30 minutes only about upcoming releases and be so darn entertaining.

  3. Yes, yes, very cute, but if you were a REAL writer, you would be selling out football stadiums full of people who wanted to get your book signed.

    (At least, I assume that’s where the goal posts are moving to next. Because given the crowds in some of those pictures, I think you meet the standard if it’s anything less than that.)

    1. 500? Typical SJW no STEM skills whatsoever, even basic counting skills. I went to a Dennis Lehane signing near his hometown, he had about 120 people for a reading & signing…500 people would exceed the floor loading not to mention violate the fire and sanitary codes…how many porta potties did they have to bring in?

  4. Happy for the big turnouts, but I’m glad we got to see you in a smaller venue like The Twig.

  5. Too bad you can’t make Los Angeles, but our traffic is indeed stupid. Not as bad as Taipei but bad enough.

  6. Hey Larry I was at your Austin signing, and asked about Earl storming Normandy and about Alpha. Thanks for coming out to our city, and I hope to see you in Austin at future signings!! Also Siege was amazing and can’t wait for Guardians!

    1. I’ve got a signing Friday at 4, and Saturday at 10, but I don’t know what booth they are putting the writers in for that. My schedule just says exhibit hall

  7. Glad I was able to go to the St. Pete signing, and hopefully the low volume at TBCC won’t keep you from coming back to the area in the future. I think the convention in Orlando is better attended.

  8. I was at the Phoenix signing. I’m guessing there were 100+ people there by the end of the signing. Larry showed up about 45 minutes before he was due and just shot the breeze with the folks there. At some point he got stuck by one of our local cacti and started bleeding. We had an ER doc and several people in the audience with full first aid kits immediately volunteer their services. He got fixed up and went on like a trooper.

    The demographics of his fans covered male and female, teens to old guys. Based on the conversations guns were always a major interest.

    Anyway, he answered questions, told of future plans, and was gracious as always. He talked about the book tour, and I have no idea how he managed the flights and signings. I’d be dead after the first 4 days of his schedule.

    He signed Mike Kupari’s books for me, and in honor of Mike’s Air Force Service, he signed them in blue crayon.

    A good time was had by all.

  9. Really wish you could come close to the northeast, would love to meet you in person and enjoy a book signing experience. Thanks for writing such fantastic series, I’ll eagerly be awaiting your next book in whatever series you are working on!

  10. Here in Alaska at Eielson AFB the command decided to a type of con. Little and local at the Air Force Base library where I just got a job as the IT dude. I’ve donated your books to the library because they don’t have any. I’ve been spreading ILOH to anyone looking for something new. If you want to come to Eielson Air Force base and hang out with the dudes responsible for air to air dog fight training, see some moose, get out in the interior of beautiful Alaska and show some love to the this small but important AFB we’d love to show you a good time.

  11. If you want to visit the Dakotas I can arrange it. I teach an honors SF course at the University of South Dakota. We could have you as a speaker.

  12. I was your first fan to get signatures in St. Pete — I was delighted to meet you and was able to see that you’re just as much fun in person (maybe more) as you are on the page. In my “younger” days, I went to a fair number of book signings, and about half of the authors do not meet that standard. (I’m the guy who, since you could not sign my e-books, made a color sheet with all six of the MHI covers for you to sign.) It was easy to see that you’re the kind of person I’d love to just hang out with for a while. And by reading your books, I kind of get to do that . . .

    As far as the turn-out: The bookstore you went to is a bit out-of-the-way, about as far from downtown St. Pete as you can get and still be considered to be in St. Pete. I’m not surprised at a low turn-out, as I had never been in that store before (but they were nice folks). Downtown St. Pete is actually a pretty nice place with lots of funky little restaurants and night spots — and in a few years, the replacement pier will be built. You should have had a signing at Haslam’s — a bookstore still around in mid-town since the 1930’s.

  13. The Boris Vallejo pose is priceless!

    My son and I are hoping to see you at DragonCon, and hopefully get a book signed there.

  14. Quick question, sir. How long had you been doing book tours before they became money makers rather than a drag on you and your publisher’s finances?

    1. I have no idea. That’s one of those things that’s hard to calculate. Purely off of book sales at the events? Never profitable. Once you factor in flights and hotels, it’s expensive. The key is relationship and fan base building and maintenance. The kind of people who come to book signings are the kind of evangelical fans that tell their friends. How do you calculate that? I have no idea. But Baen keeps sending me. 🙂

    1. I know, right?! Larry, visit Toronto. I can drive to Toronto. It’s three boring long days to Minneapolis from here.

      By the way, all your crowd pictures look like you were standing on a chair. 😀

      1. Come west after Toronto. At this year’s Regina FanExpo, we were cool enough to get Bruce Boxleitner and William Shatner. Surely we’re cool enough to merit the ILOH.

  15. Well there I am in 3 of your photos from Dallas. Looking like Santa with my white beard. Really enjoyed the presentation and meeting you.

  16. I was surprised that one of my friends, who is originally from Utah, happened to be visiting for another event and happened catch you at the B&N there. Talk about good timing!

  17. I’m missing out living all the way here in New Zealand. Still, I’m happy you had an awesome time. One day soon you’ll be a real writer. Don’t lose hope. 😛

  18. Was great to see you and Dave Butler in Austin – wouldn’t have thought that Half Price could hold that many people. I’ll note a certain “best selling” writer who often signs 500 books a pop didn’t have half that many people last year…

  19. Larry, that is a fantastic turnout to your book signings.
    Will you be driving around the Raleigh, NC area when you come here for Honorcon?
    I know a fantastic local bookstore about 20 minutes from the con that you should visit. 🙂
    Feel free to email me if you want that bookstore information – great owners and they have had great turnouts when authors come to visit.
    Hopefully, I’ll catch you at Honorcon.

    1. I hadn’t decided if I was going to grab a rental car during Honorcon or not, but I haven’t hit NC bookstores for several years so it couldn’t hurt.

  20. I’ve been shopping Uncle Hugo’s 40 years – that location and the prior – and I’ve never seen it as packed with fans as it was for your signing. Can’t wait for the next one.

  21. I’m in one of the Dallas photos! I’m famous! /sarcasm. But really, it was great to finally meet Larry in person.

  22. For what its worth, Paul Weimer and a few others chimed in on Twitter with disgust at the turnout for Larry at GenCon. Which means he’s still offending all the right people.

    1. The funny part is he probably only saw one of my busy signings. I had a couple, and a big Q&A session. 😀

  23. So, is Wendell the Manatee the 21st Century version of The Winslow?

    I’m very sorry, but I had to ask.

  24. When you get a chance to hit the Dakotas, do it between late October and Christmas. We’ll introduce you to our state bird, which you can shoot by the way. Just try *that* in Wisconsin! We’ve few book stores and even fewer cons, not the typical habitat for a struggling not-yet-a-real writer, but we’ll make certain you enjoy your stay. If you hit Sioux Falls or Brookings I’ll be happy to loan you a shotgun for the obligatory hunt.

    Do you remember those Little House on the Prairie books? De Smet, SD and Walnut Grove, MN are only an hour from Brookings SD, and no they’ve not changed a great deal since Laura was there. Probably because she wasn’t a Real Writer either, what with her simple prose and not a coveted minority character in a major plot point to be found!

    One side note, as a fellow follower of Smith there’s a lot of interesting history to be found here in the midwest between Kansas City and Sioux City. Seems the early Saints migrated along the Missouri river, and between the LDS and RLDS groups there are a number of preserved churches, farmsteads, burial sites and reunion grounds worth exploring, if only to take a break from the schedule and ponder the lives of those who went before. My Memorial Day schedule hits a number of them and I find myself rejuvenated afterwords — if they can do it my burdens seem so trivial in comparison.

    We welcome you to God’s Country, whenever you can make it.

  25. Hiya Larry! It was really awesome to meet you and Dave at Dallas HPB. Congrats to you and Ringo for DC win, and yes I voted for y’all.

    Question…what in the world was up with that guy in line ahead of me who wanted you to sign that Kareem Abdul-Jabbar book? Was that supposed to be funny or just plain creepy? LOL Rock on man! 🙂

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