Notes from the Book Tour

Notes from the Book Tour

I am writing this post from above the clouds, somewhere between Chicago and Seattle*. I am about halfway through my book tour, and because I’m all for sharing the behind-the-scenes details, I thought I would tell you a bit about the life of a touring author.

Media escorts. In each city that I visit, a media escort has been hired to accompany me: this is someone who knows the area well, who has my schedule, and who drives me from one engagement to the next so I don’t have to worry about taxis or driving directions.

This person (man or woman — it’s not that kind of escort) can sometimes act as a food stylist, too, if there is a TV appearance scheduled, and usually makes a point of showing me the sights and sharing little bits of trivia as we drive around, which I really appreciate. I had no idea such a job existed and I don’t know how well it pays, but it strikes me as a rewarding occupation, which allows you to meet engaging authors (present company not included) and attend a variety of events — in any case, the ones I’ve met seemed quite happy.

Schedule. The events listing is really just the tip of the book tour iceberg: in addition to these engagements, the goal of a book tour is also to reach out to the local media — television, radio, or print — and get a chance to spread the word about the book.

You’ve read about my segment on the Today Show, and I am scheduled to appear on KNTV‘s Bay Area Today sometime between 10 and 11am this Thursday Friday, but I’ve also had a chance to visit a few radio studios, which I’ve always found mysterious and cool and fascinating, for some reason, but had never realized were that chilly (note to self: don’t forget the sweater). As for the print media, journalists either choose to attend a booksigning event, or we have a one-on-one conversation that usually takes place in the bar area of my hotel, which makes my life easier.

Blow-ups. In preparation for each booksigning event, my publicist has sent the organizers a blow-up of the book, which is a light cardboard poster of the book cover (pictured above). It was a bit of a shock the first time I found myself face to face with this odd, 2-D, almost life-size version of me, but I’ve more or less gotten used to her presence by my side. I do draw the line, however, at having one shipped to me in Paris, as I’ve been offered — what could I possibly do with it? (And no, I am not asking for your creative suggestions, but thanks anyway.)

Signing the stock. As time allows, another one of the author’s missions is to hit the local bookstores and sign the books they have in stock. Stores can then apply a sticker on the cover to indicate that they are autographed copies, which sell better, of course. Media escorts can help by calling ahead so the store manager will have the copies handy, but I’ve also paid a surprise visit to a large bookstore by my hotel in Chicago, where the sales attendant was apparently as intimidated as I was.

Downtime. And in the midst of all that running around, when I have a bit of time to myself, it is spent exploring the cities, buying fruit and yogurt for the next morning’s breakfast (I find hotel breakfasts to be consistently disappointing and prefer to take matters into my own hands), and catching up with friends over a few good meals. Oh, and cat-napping, too — I’ve gotten remarkably good at that.

Boston decided to give me the cold, rainy shoulder, but I didn’t let that cloud my judgement (ha ha): Paul O’Connell, chef at Chez Henri, was kind enough to take me out to lunch to eat the lobster roll I was craving, and he drove me around afterwards, introducing me to this elegant city in record time. I also loved my visit to the French Library, set in a gorgeous Back Bay mansion; Julia Child used to do cooking demonstrations there, in the very room where I gave my little talk.

Chicago. I had a little more time and a lot more sunshine in Chicago, and this made it easier to appreciate the atmosphere, the architecture (if you’re a fan of Schuiten and Peeters‘ graphic novels, this is your dream city), and the lingering smell of hot cocoa in the air (which comes from a nearby chocolate factory but, I was told, not Willy Wonka’s). I was happy for the chance to drop by the Museum of Contemporary Art (the current photography exhibition made my day), to sit around in the café at Fox & Obel, and to blink in amazement at the genuine moon rock displayed in a glass window at the foot of the Tribune tower.

Finally. I would like to thank those of you who have made it to the various booksigning events so far: it was a pleasure to meet you and I hope you had a good time! Many thanks, also, for the messages of congratulations and support you have posted or emailed me over the past few days. They are much appreciated, and I am thrilled that you are enjoying the book.

(If you have a moment, I hope you will consider posting your own review on the Amazon page, to help other would-be readers decide if this is the book for them. Thank you!)

* The actual posting happened a bit later, of course, once I was settled in my hotel room.

  • http://www.ceresandbacchus.com Mary

    Clotilde,
    I’m so sorry I wasn’t able to make it to the book signing in New York. I hope you’re enjoying the tour. Thanks for all the inside info. You should bring the blow up poster home just so that your family could get a good laugh out of it, don’t you think? Bon courage pour la suite.

  • http://www.judyoz.com Judy

    Clotilde, it all sounds wonderful and I’m so pleased to read that you’re able to enjoy bits of what each city has to offer. When I have my next career change, I’m going to become a media escort, that really sounds like ‘my’ kind of job! Enjoy the rest of your trip, when are you coming to Australia? I could be your media secort here!

  • http://thelovelyemily.blogspot.com Emily S.

    So glad you’re enjoying the tour!

  • http://cooking4theweek.blogspot.com Mary

    I am really enjoying the book. I received a copy from a friend and made a few of the recipes on Sunday. The gougeres were heavenly. I blogged my Sunday dinner (see URL), hope you enjoy the photos.

  • Alisa

    I am so happy for you…You ARE having the time of your life!!!

    Really? You don’t want my suggestions on what you could do with your very own cardboard blow-up? Sheesh

  • Hilda

    That sounds like a whirlwind (but a good one).
    Did you get to see Elizabeth (La Coquette) while you were in Chicago?
    Hope you continue having a fabulous time.

  • Jenny – New York

    There are 9 reviews at Amazon – I did one but it didn’t show up – so I just re-did it. Also http://www.bn.com – my review is there (I’m the only review there – so I’m lonely)! These reviews are very important – I look at them when deciding to purchase a book or not.

  • Rachel

    The chocolate factory you smelled in Chicago was Blommer Chocolate (I know, I know, not nearly as exciting as Willy Wonka – but hey, it is my hometown). Glad to hear your tour is not all work and no play, et bon courage pour la fin!

  • Debs

    I am so jealous of all of you that are already enjoying the book. Amazon.de first promised me my copy this week, and now says that they’ll get it to me by the end of July. :(
    Clothilde, please publish in Germany. And do a book signing in Berlin! I would love to be your escort and take you to a well kept local secret gem of a restaurant here.

  • Kova

    Hi Jenny (from New York) – I never even thought of bn.com. I will leave a comment there as well! Thanks for the tip!

  • Charly

    I’ve been reading your blog for quite sometime now, and was very excited about your book. When I read that you’ll be in town (Chicago) for book signing, I was literally bursting at the seams from excitement. I love the book, and thanks for signing it and the other one for my friend, Yvette. We are both “foodies” and we go to Paris almost every year to eat around and shop for food, mostly. I shall try to bake caneles again and I’ll definitely follow your suggestion. By the way, I’ve already tried one of the recipes, Sables Au Citron, from the book. I substituted lime, however, and they turn out great. I’ll be making the Chicken and Cashew mini-quiches and the Honey Almond bites tomorrow! My friend and I are looking forward to your other book.

  • http://80breakfasts.blogspot.com joey

    It’s so exciting to read everything that is happening! Thank you for always keeping your readers posted on all the happenings :) You deserve all this…you have always been an inspiration to many!

    Btw, I am so enjoying my copy of your book!

  • maria

    Clotilde,

    Just wanted to say I’m a huge fan of the blog, and have had great success w/ many of your recipes – especially the yogurt cake, a perfect foil for our California berries. I’m just disappointed you’re not stopping in my city – Los Angeles, but can’t wait to buy the book. Also, as an aspiring seamstress, I wish your mom blogged in English! Keep up the inspiring work!
    Best wishes and congratulations,
    Maria

  • http://www.laurelines.typepad.com Laura

    Not fair that you’re not coming anywhere near Raleigh, NC!! We like good food here, too, you know! I’ve got your cookbook (having pre-ordered it when you first announced it) and it is fabulous! Or, I HAD your cookbook until my friend, also a cookbook writer, stole it. Don’t worry, I have ways of getting it back.

  • http://www.knitone.com Barbara

    Sounds like a neat tour!

  • http://analisfirstamendment.blogspot.com/ Anali

    I bought your book a few days ago! I love it!

  • http://errantpotter.blogspot.com Sam

    I love your site and included it among my favorite links. No stops in Southern California? Maybe next time (sigh!!). Enjoy your book tour.

  • Kelly

    Saw a blurb about you and your book in the latest issue of American Vogue. Your book is recommended as a great read for the summer. Congratulations!

  • http://ParisBreakfasts.blogspot.com ParisBreakfasts

    Clotilde, Your reference to Schuiten and Peeters’ graphic novels, made me wonder if this whirlwind booktour isn’t a bit like a walk inside L’Enfant Penchée.
    I only know of Adelle Blanc Sec. Now I shall have to discover “Mary”
    Bonne chance
    Carolg

  • Niba

    Glad you’re having fun. I’m looking forward to meeting you at the London event next month!

  • suzanne

    A tip for when you are in Berkeley tomorrow – though I am sure your media escort will let you in on the bounty of 4th St. – one quick stop you should not miss is Sketch Ice Cream, 1809A 4th St., just a couple blocks away from Cody’s Books, especially for their confections like chocolate caramels and salted toffee.

  • Ewa

    I got your book about a week ago and it is gorgeous and very fun to read and look through. I haven”t tried a recipe yet but I will soon.

    I missed you in Seattle but hopefully you will come back. Thanks for keeping such an amazing blog, always fun to look at it during the day it gives you a smile and perspective of life as you are running from meetings to meeting.

    Thanks,
    Ewa

  • Gloriana

    Congratulations Clotilde! Sounds like you are having a blast…I’m thrilled for you. You deserve every last bit of the success you are enjoying. Can’t wait to get my hands on a copy of your book. Come to L.A. sometime…you have some fans here too!

  • Ana

    Hi Clotilde!

    I just got your book in the mail and I think it’s a great little book.
    As always your photos make me want to go to the kitchen right away.
    All the luck in the world to you because you deserve it!

    P.S. – It has been some time since I comment but I’m always lurking! I’m the “Queijadas” Ana.

  • http://inmolaraan.blogspot.com the chocolate lady (eve)

    I just sent Mr. Chocolate Lady off to work with a bag our remaining “Very Chocolate Cookies.” Yummy! I will be looking forward to trying more recipes from the book.

    Thrilled to see you.

  • http://thelovelyemily.blogspot.com Emily S.

    Clotilde,

    I just received my copy of the book. The recipes all look wonderful – I want to make every single one. What I didn’t expect, though, was the amazing photography – it is stunning! The color, the compositions, everything about them is just gorgeous. It’s a beautiful book, and I’m so glad to own it. Thank you.

    Emily

  • http://peachesandpurls.blogspot.com/ sharon

    I saw the add for your book in the NY Times. You haves arrived! Congrats!

  • http://www.wordydiva.com Lisa B-K

    Clotilde –

    Just wanted to let you know I saw the book last night at our indie bookstore in Urbana-Champaign, about two hours south of Chicago.

    I had to get it there, because a) I want to support the local bookstore scene and b) this is the first book I’ve purchased by a food blogger, so I may as well go local.

    I’ve been following your trajectory since almost the beginning! I love it when cool people get book deals!

    Anyway, I can’t wait to dig in.

  • Mercedes

    First of all CONGRATULATIONS!! It must be like a dream come true, to be able to share all your delicious ideas with so many people and see their reactions live. I must say you are a natural writer. Its so much fun to read your entries. Its like talking to a friend.
    I live in Panama (Central America), so I don’t expect your book here soon. Anyhow, my sister lives in the US and has already bought me a copy to bring me!!! I’m so excited to see whats in it!!!
    Bonne Chance with the rest of your tour!

  • Kharina

    I preordered your book back in March at amazon.co.uk. I got several emails apologising for the delays, but I thought “no way am I cancelling” and boy am I glad I didn’t! It arrived in the post this morning, a pleasant start to our bank holiday weekend. The weather is gray and cold, but in my hands is the stuff of sunshine! Congratulations to such a wonderful book! I’m going to try this out on my girlfriends tonight already. Thank you for brightening up my day.

  • Sarah

    I read the article a few weeks ago in the NY Times and requested your book thru my local Public Library, and I have read it cover to cover, am taking it with me today to buy ingredients for several dishes and am going to have to purchase one for my personal library.
    I am a huge fan of French cuisine and particularly Love all of your creative ideas.
    Love your website!!
    Thanks and the best of Luck!!
    Sarah

  • http://www.bigboysoven.blogspot.com Big Boys Oven

    Wish we were able to be there. Well done mate!

  • http://shimabukurofamily.blogspot.com Jenn S

    I just heard you on KGO in San Francisco this morning with Gene Burns….it was great to listen to you and I can’t wait to get a copy of your book. Thanks for sharing!

  • Catherine

    I’m in Alaska; today I got autographed _Chocolate & Zucchini_ from daughter in NYC! A surprise. I cannot stop smiling! Recipes and design for goddesses, and the English is pour les gourmands d’anglais! I am really happy today!

  • http://www.rees26.blogspot.com Erin

    Have been reading you for about 2 years and bought the book on Amazon.com a few days ago! It’s beautifully done and a joy to read – the perfect coffee table book. Well done!

  • http://www.hageltoast.co.uk Toast

    Its been a while since i was a regular visitor here, but i just ordered the book and am really looking forward to reading and cooking with it.

  • http://www.jillghardy.com Jill Hardy

    *When in Seattle* Clotilde, try a fabulous little pastry place downtown on 4th Ave, Belle Epicurean. The most divine chocolate brioche outside of Paris! Unfortunately, I will miss your book tour, but can’t wait to purchase the book when I return. Enjoy Seattle!

  • http://healthifica.com -nadine-

    Wow, sounds like a great tour.

    Congrats!

  • http://www.swirlingnotions.com Lia

    It was great to meet you in Healdsburg last week Clotilde! I’m just sorry we didn’t get a chance to show you more of wine country . . . next time, though. I have a couple of pics and a post of the evening on my blog if you want to take a peek — (I think that’s the ‘permalink’ . . . I’m still new to manning a blog of my own ;-))

    I hope you had a wonderful time in your old stomping grounds and are enjoying being back HOME at last.

    Felicitations encore, Clotilde. I look forward to the next time our paths cross!

    Cheers,
    Lia

  • Karen

    Clotilde, it was such a treat to meet you at the Ferry Building book signing – my husband and I happened to be on vacation in San Francisco the week of your book tour. It was the final step on our itinerary and the perfect way to wrap up our food-filled trip!

    Tonight we made your zucchini carpaccio, and absolutely loved it (including my husband, who is not very fond of vegetables). We’re trying to incorporate more healthful dishes into our repertoire, and I can tell that your book will be a tremendous inspiration.

    We hope you enjoyed the rest of your trip – and want to thank you so much for sharing your love of food, your enthusiasm and your inventive recipes!

  • http://www.povertybarn.com catherine

    Clotilde:

    It was great to meet you this past Saturday in San Francisco! I have put a quick post on povertybarn.com

    Great job! I can’t wait to make the steak tartare.

  • http://travellust.wordpress.com/ Kailie Bennett

    I just arrived back in the States from a three month study abroad in Switzerland, and your book was one of my first purchases. It is a wonderful read, but I confess I miss the plethora of markets that seemed almost ubiquitous in Switzerland and France. How I miss those mini strawberries! Congrats!

  • Clover

    How great to get to read the inner workings of your book tour! I hope you had a nice time at the places you visited, even if only for a little time!

  • http://www.onfoodandwine.com andreea

    i hope your booktour is going well. i am waiting for the european one!

    just for info: a mention on C&Z was made in Gael(Belgium, June 2007) as part of an article ’20 musts pour foodsnobs’. let me know if you would like the page scanned and sent? :)

  • http://babycakesplace.blogspot.com/ Babycakes

    Juste pour la petite histoire:

    I’m a lover/reader of your blog. As my parents live in Chicago (and me in Paris), I thought it would be fun to have a dedicated book from Chicago. So I send my father there. unfortunately he didn’t know the bookstore and kind of lost his way so he arrived at 4 pm after much annoyance on his part, and unfortunatly you were gone and there was no book left!! Tssss!! Quelle déception!! Pour lui qui a courru pour me faire plaisir et pour moi, de ne pas avoir le livre et de lui avoir fait perdre son temps !
    La rançon du succès n’est-ce pas! ;)
    Well, now I just have to buy it anonymously on amazon. I cannot wait!

    Amicalement,

    Anne alias Babycakes

  • http://handtomouthkitchen.wordpress.com B

    Congrats on the book tour clotilde! It must be so nice to see bits and pieces of different cities and not be losing money (ie: spending money) in the process. But then again, sleeping in ones own bed is also nice.
    Hope you’re enjoying it!

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