A decade ago – before my first novel was published – I read about the promotional events of established authors with more than a touch of envy. For a while, it seemed like every best-selling novelist was going on a Caribbean cruise with their most devoted readers, with the author’s expenses paid by the cruise lines. Other famous writers were paid to host ski weekends at glamorous resorts, or welcomed their fans to a luxurious spa vacation. I even heard about a relatively unknown novelist who got paid by a tour company to spend a week touring Ireland with her readers.
Erin Go Bragh.
One of these days, I used to assure myself, I will be published, and the requests to accompany readers to exotic destinations will come pouring in. Hawaii would be nice. Or Tahiti. I’d even consider a cruise down the Nile or a trip to Australia’s Outback.
When dreams come true…
And then in 2008, North Star Press of St. Cloud, Inc. published my first Birder Murder Mystery, The Boreal Owl Murder. Lo and behold, within six months, I did indeed receive my first invitation to go on a cruise as a guest author.
To the Arctic.
Very funny, I thought. One of my friends had clearly set up the invitation as a joke. After all, I lived in Minnesota at that point – any time I wanted to experience bone-biting cold in January, all I had to do was walk to my mailbox at the end of our driveway.
Two weeks later, I had an email from my publisher. They’d received an inquiry from a Norwegian tour company asking to verify my email address because they hadn’t heard back from me about their Arctic trip invitation.
It wasn’t a joke. I was invited to go on an adventure cruise to the Arctic in January. Sub-zero temperatures, rubber rafts, and stormy seas. Probably icebergs and polar bears, too. Maybe even killer whales.
Fortunately – I mean, unfortunately – I couldn’t make the trip because I had a previous commitment…to survival. I passed on the Arctic cruise.
Maybe I should have given it a bit more consideration
Now it’s years later, and I’m more experienced as an author. Book events and speaking gigs are a way of life when I’m promoting a new book. No one has yet offered to give me a free vacation in return for my hosting readers at a secluded tropical location, but I can still hope. In retrospect, I realize I probably should have gone on that Arctic cruise to connect with new readers. I can handle a little cold.
Of course, it’s also August, and I now live in Texas, where I’m sweltering in 100-degree heat. Icebergs don’t sound all that bad.
Maybe the email address for the Norwegian tour company is still somewhere in my files…