Notes from a Book Tour

Dog in bookstore
Every bookstore needs a dog. This one resides at 32 Books in North Vancouver, BC

I was sharing a meal with a friend recently and she asked me how the book tour’s going for my newly-released book, Constructive Wallowing.

I told her about the travel, the bookstore signings and the radio and TV interviews, and she responded with an interesting question.

“Why haven’t I read about any of this on your blog?”

I was temporarily speechless. But then the cat came back with my tongue.

“People don’t want to read about me and my book. They want to read self-help.”

My friend disagreed.

She asserted that you, Gentle Reader, would be not only tolerant of, but actively interested in, reading about my activities.

As outrageously improbable as that seemed when she said it, my friend is not a kook.

So although I’m uncomfortable writing an entire post exclusively about ME and MY BOOK, I’m performing a daring experiment this week by doing just that.

Gulp. Here goes…

Book Expo America, the biggest publishing trade show in the U.S. - New York City
At Book Expo America, I signed books for the first time. Wanted to write, “Thanks for asking me to sign this – you just made my day!”

This year, my first book came out!

A bit of history: I started writing Constructive Wallowing in October 2010.

(I figured the word “wallow” needed to be reclaimed so people would stop beating themselves over the head with it.)

Anyway, I worked on about six drafts of the manuscript until January 2012, found wonderful literary agent Janet Rosen in February 2012, she sold it to the awesome publisher Viva Editions in November 2012, and after a great deal of collaboration and planning it was released a couple of months ago.

Since then I’ve been doing oodles of radio interviews about the book, most of them by phone.

I’ve also visited New York, Minneapolis, Seattle, Vancouver and the San Francisco Bay Area to speak and sign copies at bookstores.

Sushi: The official food of Tina's book tour. This is Sono Sushi in Mountain View, CA
Sushi: The official food of Tina’s book tour. This is Sono Sushi in Mountain View, CA

At some point early on, I agreed to be interviewed on TV.

It must have been the day I tried crack.

Kidding! I do crack every day.



You saw the first interview in my post, Good Enough is Sometimes Best. The second is below.

Going into the tour, I dreaded being on TV (wouldn’t you?), but it turns out I probably enjoyed those interviews the most.

Why? Because it’s easy to remain on point for the scant 5-minutes-or-less available.

An hour-long radio interview, on the other hand, can be mentally taxing. At least for me.

Toward the end of a long interview, my ability to concentrate starts to unravel. This is not a fun development, especially when the show is live.

During the first week of my New York/Minneapolis trip, I got really sick and had to do an important radio interview while lying in bed.

cute cat on bed
This is Huddy, who lives in the AirB&B home where I stayed during the Bay Area leg of the tour.

My worst fear came true in that interview: I forgot what I was talking about right in the middle of a sentence.

The interviewer was gracious about it, but of course that particular interview had one of the largest audiences — isn’t that always the way?

Though I’m back home in Portland now, the radio interviews continue; I usually have a couple each week.

My mind still starts to poop out around the 40-45 minute mark. I blame it on the mental fog of perimenopause.

That’s what I blame everything on these days. No matter what happens, it’s “Damn you, Perimenopause!”

Tina with books on table in front of store
At Book Passage in Corte Madera, CA. The staff treated me so well, you’d have thought I was Hillary Clinton.

While on the road, I collected miscellaneous bookstore experiences.

You never know what you’re going to find when you go to speak at a venue you’ve never been to, or how many people will show up to a free event.

It was the week after Hillary Clinton was there to sign her new book that I was scheduled to speak about Constructive Wallowing at the UW Bookstore in Seattle.

When I arrived, I found a HUGE bookstore with a lovely big speaking area, complete with lectern and signing table.

I was told that Hillary Clinton had used the very same lectern and the very same signing table just last week. Cool!

San Francisco highlight: Chinatown, and the biggest sesame ball I've ever had. Yum!
San Francisco highlight: Chinatown, and the biggest sesame ball I’ve ever had. Yum!

I also learned that Clinton’s audience had numbered 1,200Β  — limited only by the size of the space, presumably.

I crossed my fingers for a fraction of that turnout as I waited for people to arrive…

I guess 1/600th counts as a fraction.

What has she got that I don’t have?

On the other hand, at one of my library talks, a good-sized room was filled to capacity.

Yes, my mother and 11 of her friends happened to be there. What are you implying?

It’s another reason to love TV: You can imagine whatever number of viewers you’re most comfortable with.

I had a genuinely good time chatting with Frank Mallincoat during this KPIX interview:

You can see at the end that we started talking again after the interview. We talked for so long that the studio cleared out and we were the only ones left.

The people (and sometimes animals) I met and the interesting conversations I had (mostly with the people) were the highlights of the tour for me.

This sign at the entrance to the North Vancouver City Library told me I was in the right place.

It was a special treat to finally come face to face with the creative and dynamic souls in my publisher’s office, and with Janet, my literary agent.

We’d been working together via phone and email for more than a year to bring Constructive Wallowing to market.

The handshakes and hugs when we met face-to-face were heart-felt. It truly takes a village to publish a book.

The long-distance travel may be over now, but the interviews and short-distance travel continue as I work to introduce the book to everyone with a pulse.

If you’d like to listen to some of the interviews and learn a little more about Constructive Wallowing, you can find them on the Press Room page on my website.

If you’re in the Portland area, please come see me at the Multnomah County Library this fall. I’ll be in multiple branches on multiple dates.

You never know; maybe Hillary Clinton will be there!

Photos courtesy of Tina Gilbertson Photography, Inc.

0 thoughts on “Notes from a Book Tour”

  1. I’m glad you allowed yourself, wallowed?, in describing what must have been an exciting and challenging week. I really enjoyed your narrative.

    I’m listening to one of your radio interviews right now, and really enjoying your standing up for identifying with feelings. They are ours, after all.
    Thanks much


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