How Much Will a Tour Cost?
Even though your media appearances are free, you will have expenses for contacting the media, promoting your events and traveling to them. Before you decide to go on tour, calculate what it will cost and whether that amount is worthwhile to you. First, forecast the amount of expected revenue and when you will receive it. Deduct from that the expenses you will incur to conduct your tour to determine how much money you can expect to make. Compute the profit you will make from the sale of each book and approximate the number of books you will have to sell to break even.
As you go through your calculations, remember that you are investing your money, not spending it. Book marketing is a long-term proposition. In a sense, you are sowing the seeds that will grow into future revenue, so do not expect an immediate return on every dollar invested today.
What is your potential revenue?
Begin with your forecast of the revenue you expect to generate. However, you cannot determine that number by taking the retail price of your book and multiplying that by the number of books you intend to sell. If you sell through a distribution network to retail outlets, consider their discounts in your analysis. Also consider other sources of revenue. These might include fees for speaking engagements or receipts from sales made "in the back of the room," directly to your customers.
What are your expenses?
You have to contact the media to arrange appearances, promote your events and pay for travel, food, lodging and other miscellaneous items. Accurately forecast what your outlay will be for these.
Exhibit 1 shows typical expenses for a do-it-yourself tour. It assumes you spend every weekend for six months touring nearby cities performing media events. Your direct costs for this six-month period are $12,345, and you will have to sell 2469 books to break even.
The direct-mail costs are compiled on the assumption you send 500 letters per month to media decision makers at a cost of $ .75 per letter, including postage. You will have to prepare your own media kit and arrange for media training, too. You will also incur expenses for advertising in the Radio-Television Interview Report (RTIR) to stimulate media events.
Before you make your final decision, consider all the intangibles, such as your inclination and ability to talk with producers, the quality of your media training and the value of your time. Also, consider your availability. If you have a full-time job, media performances may be difficult to perform.
Creating a successful tour requires a great deal of work. You have to evaluate the media, make and confirm the appointments, follow up, plan your itinerary, promote yourself, pack your bags, make travel arrangements, fulfill all your appointments and obligations, send thank-you notes and evaluate your performances. Then you have to do it all over again somewhere else. But as a result, you will sell more books and you will have some fun doing it.