Friends, these are wild times. Bibliotherapy can’t solve everything, but by golly, it helps.
We’ve cooked up something new in response to the situation we’re facing right now. My hope is that you’ll find our series of video events fun, engaging, and intellectually stimulating, both good for morale and good for the soul. Let’s talk.
UPDATE: To read more about the origin of Stay at Home Book Tour, read on. If you’d like to watch the event replays, click here.
I’m supposed to be in the thick of my Don’t Overthink It book tour right now, but this time last week we made the at-the-time difficult decision to cancel many appearances.
One week later, everyone’s entire lives are being massively disrupted by COVID-19. I’m trying to control the things I can, and I’m focusing here on the book angle.
I’m so disappointed that I’m not meeting readers in person this month as planned. And I’m definitely not the only one in this boat—so many authors, publishers, and bookstores are affected. With the CDC’s new recommendation to cancel or postpone gatherings of 50 people or more, it looks like we won’t be resuming book events anytime soon. Many bookstores are closing outright for the time being. It’s hard.
It’s not the situation anyone planned for. But this is where we are.
I’m not sure if you know this, but I run this thing online called The Modern Mrs Darcy Book Club. We’re a group of readers who gather online for community, classes, and conversation about all things books and reading. (If you’ve heard me discuss Book School here, or classes like 1 Hour to a Better #Bookstagram, those were Book Club happenings.) We talk books—and importantly, we talk with authors about their books—all the time. We have systems in place to do this via video chat. This is what we do.
(The Stay at Home Book Tour I’m about to describe is not being held inside Book Club; it’s free and open to all. But I wanted you to know why we’re in a position to host these events.)
The book tour plan
So here’s what we’re doing now: we’re inviting authors whose in-person book events have been disrupted by COVID-19 to join us online for a virtual, stay-at-home book tour. We’ll keep the format of a bookstore author talk, but we’ll do it online, in a series of events. We won’t do signings or selfies, but we hope to bring the delight of a good book tour event straight to you, wherever you are.
And we’re inviting readers to join us, because of course we are. If you were planning on meeting one of us out on the road, we hope you can brew yourself a cup of something, sit at your screen, and enjoy a little consolation. If an author you love wasn’t coming to your town, then maybe now you can catch them live after all.
We’ve been planning this for 11 days now, announced it last Thursday on Instagram, and have a finalized first week schedule ready to share. (Plans for subsequent weeks are still emerging.)
The first-week schedule
When I started dreaming up this event, I reached out to authors I admire and have a close connection to whose events were being disrupted, some for new releases and some for paperback tours.
Monday 3/23: Patti Henry, Becoming Mrs. Lewis, noon Eastern time.
Tuesday 3/24: Leesa Cross-Smith, So We Can Glow, 7pm.
Wednesday 3/25: Anne Bogel, Don’t Overthink It, noon.
Thursday 3/26: Kimmery Martin, The Antidote for Everything, 7pm.
Friday 3/27: Ariel Lawhon, Code Name Hélène, 11am.
The second-week schedule
All times Eastern. UPDATE: Click here to watch all Stay at Home Book Tour replays.
Monday 4/6: Mary Laura Philpott, I Miss You When I Blink, noon.
Tuesday 4/7: Susan Meissner, The Last Year of the War, 7pm.
Wednesday 4/8: Melanie Shankle, On the Bright Side, noon.
Thursday 4/9: Deanna Raybourn, A Murderous Relation, 7pm.
Friday 4/10: Jolenta Greenberg and Kristen Meinzner, How to Be Fine, noon.
How to join us
We’ll be meeting via the video conferencing platform Zoom. We will email out Zoom invitations to these events several days prior to each event. To participate, click the invitation link to join the discussion.
If you’d like to get these invitations in your inbox, please sign up for our Stay at Home Book Tour email list below for updates.
Our Zoom room can hold 500 people. Just like we would at a bookstore, we’ll admit readers until the room is full. Maybe this is wishful thinking on my part, but I recommend you come early if you’d like a seat.
PLEASE NOTE: We are recording every event. Click here to view all Stay at Home Book Tour recorded events.
A note for authors (and publishers and publicists)
If COVID-19 is wrecking your book tour, I’m sorry. You know I get it.
If you’re interested in participating in our Stay at Home Book Tour, please email my events manager Shannan at [email protected] and tell us about your book, your release timeline, and your canceled/postponed events. Together with my events team we’ll begin making a plan for the weeks to come.