Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Read This: Adam Mansbach writes about the agony of the book tour

The Internet is full of interesting things to read outside of The A.V. Club—no, really! In our periodic Read This posts, we point you toward interesting or noteworthy pieces that caught our eye.

Nothing shatters the romance and glamour of being a working author quite like actually putting out a book. Before publishing that first book, the prospect of a book tour shimmers with possibility as the ultimate form of validation. As a genus, writers are the most validation- and attention-hungry people in the world—just barely beating out actors and comedians—so it's an intoxicating notion that people will line up for an opportunity to have you scribble their name in a book and maybe smile at them.


The reality is something much different, as Adam Mansbach bitterly and hilariously chronicles for Salon in “Hell is my own book tour.” In the first of a series of dispatches from his book tour, Mansbach explains how the ego-boosting experience many authors anticipate often turns out to be the opposite, as they lurch their way from one nearly empty bookstore and doomed event to another.

Mansbach is one of the lucky ones. As the author of the fluke picture-book bestseller Go The Fuck To Sleep, he is the rare author who wrote a book that made his publisher money and garnered a lot of attention. (It didn’t hurt that it also had an audiobook read by Samuel L. Jackson.) But Mansbach is currently on the road promoting his satirical novel Rage Is Back, which contains many more words and ideas than a picture book and consequently is a much harder sale.

The essay is littered with expertly aimed digs at the shortsightedness of a book industry in a steep, permanent, seemingly irrevocable decline and the desperate measures authors and publishers resort to in the absence of useful resources like money and people. Mansbach's piece is a bracing reality check for writers dreaming about their big book tour.

Share This Story