Toronto to Tijuana: 7500km of bookstores and indie events
June 16, 2009 9:24 AM   Subscribe

My husband and I are planning a cross-countries, 7500km road trip to promote the book which he has just finished, currently seeking publishers (he will be self-publishing if it isn't picked up before we are set to leave). We are seeking contact info of book stores, events, independent media outlets and any other venues where book signings, readings or vending would be appropriate. (cities and book info after the cut)

The book is anecdotal and autobiographical with anarchist roots, focussed on the intersection of Metaphysics, Politics and Journalism. We are planning to attend events like the Esoteric Book Conference in Seattle and the EsoZone Unconference in Portland, but would also be interested in festivals, street fairs, free schools and other public-speaking venues, etc. - particularly those with an anarchist/activist, occult/pagan/spiritual, or newsmedia slant. We would also be interested in independent booksellers who we can contact about carrying the title and hosting readings/signings.

Here is the list of cities currently on our tour of Canada and the West Coast USA. If you know of places in other cities in or around these areas, feel free to suggest them as well!

Thunder Bay
San Francisco
(possible Las Vegas)
Los Angeles
San Diego
Tijuana (and from here, on through Mexico, continuing South towards Costa Rica)

Also, on the travel side of things, we will be making this road-trip in our camper-van with a limited initial budget, so any suggestions on safe, free places to park overnight that won't get us hassled by the local fuzz would be greatly appreciated. Feel free to suggest general places-of-interest to visit on our route, particularly places out-in-the-wild like hot springs, hiking trails, or other "places of power".
posted by DecemberRaine to Travel & Transportation (11 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I think you're putting the cart before the horse, here. If you do get a book contract, publication will likely be at least a year away. You should not schedule a book tour until the books are in the stores. If you are self-publishing, I suppose this might be a way of trying to sell the book into independent stores yourself, but you still need to have physical books on hand. Cartons and cartons of them. But the tour schedule has to be based on the book schedule, not the other way around.
posted by rikschell at 10:13 AM on June 16, 2009

Barnes and Noble's website features a store locator.
posted by Lobster Garden at 10:14 AM on June 16, 2009

Also, seconding rikschell. If you do want to go on a book tour when you've only been self-published, you'll have to spend an exorbitant amount of money on copies to distribute.
posted by Lobster Garden at 10:15 AM on June 16, 2009

Response by poster: We already have a plan in place for self-publishing and taking books with us, but have since been presented with an opportunity to have the manuscript shopped around to publishers, so we are holding off until a bit closer to our departure date before taking it to print ourselves. We are well-aware of the costs of purchasing copies to resell, which is why we have decided on a minimal travel budget.

Obviously we are working hard putting together lists of bookstores in the cities we're visiting, but the Yellow Pages aren't exactly a wealth of information when it comes to figuring out which stores would be best suited to our demographic.... And I don't really consider Barnes and Noble to be an "independent bookstore".

More important than bookstores is the OTHER VENUES we're seeking - festivals, fairs, conferences (or UNconferences, as the case may be) that take place on our route in our time frame (August - September from Toronto to Seattle; October - ? from Portland to Mexico).
posted by DecemberRaine at 10:59 AM on June 16, 2009

Selling self-published copies can be a way to get a publishing contract, if you work your ass off and sell a ton of copies.

I can't make links on this thing, but check out, which lists independent booksellers and other small businesses. It's run by the ABA.
posted by rtha at 11:23 AM on June 16, 2009

You should be able to find out festivals and the like by going to each city's website or alternative magazine/journal/newspaper website. For example, googling "alternative magazine toronto" gives me a list of several different alternative journals in the area. At least one of them has to be good, right? And when you find the "right" magazine/newspaper/journal, just look in the events section for your timeframe. You'll be able to figure out the alternative bookstores, too.
posted by cooker girl at 11:25 AM on June 16, 2009

Selling self-published copies can be a way to get a publishing contract, if you work your ass off and sell a ton of copies.

Emphasizing the part "a ton of copies" - generally self-publishing is not the way to get a publishing contract, not unless you can sell an insane amount of copies of the book.

I agree with rikschell - you're kind of doing this the wrong way round. If you get a publishing contract, the book won't be out in a long time, and certainly not by the beginning of August. If you decide to do this anyway and self-publish, just be warned that selling books that way can be tremendously hard and you may not even be able to cover the costs of printing the book.

May I recommend that you spend a moment reading the Absolute Write forums? You'll find a lot of discussion on self-publishing there, and perhaps someone might even know something about proper venues for your book.
posted by Jelly at 11:59 AM on June 16, 2009

Revolution Books in Seattle
posted by donovan at 12:00 PM on June 16, 2009

(Your husband's book, sorry.)
posted by Jelly at 12:02 PM on June 16, 2009

Response by poster: I probably should have mentioned in my initial post that we have been planning to take the road trip to Central America long before the book was finished and the idea for the tour came into being.... so if the book gets picked up by a publisher, we intend to visit the conferences and festivals and other such venues anyway, to enjoy instead of to schmooze. I'll definitely pass the timeline feedback on and let him ponder over it, while I continue making lists.
posted by DecemberRaine at 12:09 PM on June 16, 2009

Yeah, making this book-focused and doing it right would be a great way to NOT enjoy the trip. If you were going to do it for fun, do it for fun. It won't be fun if you're always pitching.
posted by rikschell at 1:47 PM on June 16, 2009

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