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What’s In The Bag? The 15 Must-Have Items We Bring on Author Tours

POSTED BY prbythebook ON December 26, 2017


by PRBTB team


Most days, we’re glued to our laptops and phones, pitching stories about our authors to media. But every spring and fall during launch season, we find ourselves accompanying authors to their signings, events and media appearances. Bookstores are great about taking care of their hosted authors, with water, treats and supplies, but we always pack our purses or tote bags with the necessities just in case.


In another look back at 15 years of PR by the Book, here’s a list of 15 items we like to have in our bags during a book tour:


  1. Pilot G-2 pens: Most authors do not like to use Sharpies—they prefer a finer tool for autographing their books. Although we pack Sharpies in every color, we always make sure to have a few Pilot G-2s or ball pens on-hand.
  2. A lint-brush (to run over an author’s clothes before a TV interview).
  3. Breath mints—not gum! Judy learned this one the hard way—she’s literally had to cup her hand under a client’s chin so that he could spit out his gum a few minutes before a TV interview. Lesson learned: never offer gum, only mints.
  4. Blotting tissues: Some people are just shinier than others… 
  5. Kleenex: self-explanatory.
  6. Protein bars and packs of nuts: You’re always in a time crunch when on a media trip, so those can be a lifesaver. When Judy was working with brothers Jason and David Benham, they were so in demand at a convention that they didn’t have time to leave the media floor, so the three of them huddled in the stairway as Judy searched her backpack, successfully fishing out two protein bars for her hungry authors. They downed them in a flash, and went back to interviews—what troopers!
  7. Post-Its: We’ve never not had a bookstore ready with these for the signing line (for spelling out names), but, when your author is at an autographing table, they will inevitably chat up someone that they want to give a recommendation to, and therefore need some paper.
  8. A sandwich-sized Ziploc bag: Your author will get handed business cards, that he/she will probably give to you to hold. This way you keep the cards intended for the author separate from the ones given to you. (We’ve all been handed gifts that fans—or starstruck press—bring for our author or artist: radio station t-shirts, homemade cookies, small stuffed animals, fan art, handmade necklaces with their book cover on it.)
  9. Phone charger and portable power pack: Mainly for ourselves—we’re on our phones all day!
  10. A print-out of the day’s media schedule: Even though you’ve sent a copy to the author and their team, a physical copy allows you to show any member of the team the schedule instantly, is there to make notes on, and is something you can check yourself if you’re having trouble pulling up the electronic schedule you’ve created.
  11. A variety of HDMI and VGA cables: Equipment varies from bookstore to hotel ballroom to convention center room, so it’s always smart to have all of the necessary cables along if you or your author is presenting from a laptop and projector.
  12. Travel-size tube/container of petroleum jelly: Dry lips can be very uncomfortable during long book signing sessions, and look unattractive on camera—a dab of this product makes for an easy fix! But petroleum jelly is also a multi-use product, as Judy discovered once when her client was about to go on camera for an interview, and would be seated with her bare (and dry) legs in full view. The author rubbed some of the product on her legs, giving her skin a smoother look – who knew that a small tube of Vaseline would be so helpful?!?
  13. An extra copy or two of the author’s book: Sure, the bookstore will have a stack of 100 books or more ready and waiting for autographs, but keep in mind that you may need one for media interviews earlier in the day or for posing in Instagram pictures outside of the store.
  14. Press release for the book: For any media in attendance.
  15. Band-Aids: Someone always gets a blister. It is known.


Authors, what items do you like to pack when you’re on tour?


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