BrooksBlog: Why Do I Keep Touring?

Going on tour in September with The Measure of the Magic. I will be Writer Guest of Honor at DragonCon, a convention I like but have not gone to much of late and will be happy to get back to, and then on to North Carolina and New England. Before that, I will be hitting some bookstores in the Pacific Northwest. Afterwards, too. You can read all about it on the website. This will be my umpteenth tour; really, I’ve lost count. I started back in 1982, and I have gone out almost every year since then, sometimes more than once a year and frequently abroad to countries in Europe, as well. It has been a grand experience, but I am wearing down. I used to do 4-6 weeks without missing a beat, but things have changed. (Where have you heard that one). It has to do with age, but it also has to do with the rules of travel. Getting anywhere is much harder and more taxing than it used to be. These days, I prefer a direct flight to some part of the country followed by driving around to the places I want to get to. But I seriously don’t know how much more of this I will do. Every year I say this year is the end. And when next year comes around I say next year is the end. I don’t see myself doing this at 90, but sometimes I wonder. These days I try to limit myself. What I really care about and want to do is to write books. The rest of it seems less important. What do you think about this? It seems like authors tour at the drop of the hat. But I think authors should be writing books, not being sideshows and performance artisits. I hate to say this, and it will probably get me in trouble, but author’s for the most part aren’t that interesting. Their work matters, but how much do we need to know about them? How much do you need to know about me? Not that much, I think.

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24 responses to “BrooksBlog: Why Do I Keep Touring?”

  1. I agree with you Terry, but…….in essence you are a celebrity to a lot of people and I could see how folks might get a little “too” interested. I’ve been reading your Shannara books for years now, own every single one is hardcover and even some in paperback (for the new artwork!). Even though you are my favorite author of all time, and I’d love to meet you of course, at the same time I am really not that interested in every little detail of your life. Don’t get me wrong, I care deeply about you and your work, but submerging myself in the Four Lands is what keeps me coming back to this website and reading your books. I thank you immensely for that Terry.

  2. Terry,
    I think you’ve earned the right to relax a little bit. At this stage in your career I don’t think traditional touring is necessary. Your fans are very grateful for the simple fact that you are still writing and providing us with the stories we enjoy so much.

    Maybe you could create an alternative to traditional touring and instead hold a couple of events in major cities where the fans can travel TO you. Essentially, a weekend long conference. You can hold your workshops, do your readings, meet with fans, and help other young authors network (we do this in the music industry a lot.) Something like this two times a year would be much less taxing.

    You could also do live video interviews online from home. That would take some pressure off to tour, because you’re still interacting with fans.

    Hope that helps!

  3. I’d have to agree with Dennis… Terry, you sound like a great guy, but behind your desk churning out novels is where I like you!! Not to say that I wouldn’t love meeting you someday, and if I did I would have to thank you for writing the way you do. Your stories have been my escape since I was in the 7th grade!! Unfortunately I spend about 3 days a year reading your newest book and 362 chomping at the bit for the next one!! This rumor of a possible 2 books a year sounds good to me!! Thanks for your hard work Terry.

  4. The way I look at it is this: If I’m ever lucky enough to be able to see you on tour, I will gladly do so. Having said that, though – as a devoted reader of your books, nothing makes me happier then to have a new book you’ve put out. If I was told I had one choice for the year – see you or get a new book – I’d opt for the book. Every time. So, if touring is getting not as fun (or easy) as it used to be – step back from it and don’t worry. Your website is, by far, the most well-run website by any of my favorite authors. We get to submit two questions to you and get thoughtful answers in return *every month.* In short, we are some of the most spoiled book fans out there in the world. This site, and the time you (and Shawn) put into it every month keeping us up to date and interacting with us, is more than most fans ever get from their favorite authors. If touring is too stressful – we don’t need it. Your books (and this site) are a gift enough as it is.

  5. I consider myself a passionate fantasy reader who has been known to haunt websites, seeking information about the next book to be out, someone who actually enters release dates into ical. I really get with the whole traveling thing being a bit over-rated, but just so you know…how cool would it be (sitting around talking about what books are out, or soon will be, what you have read, or not) to be able to talk about favorite authors that you have seen or maybe met…..

  6. Earlier post I misspelled the email. I certainly understand and agree with your position on touring. I think fans of any celebrity often get to cought up in the mania of the signature and meeting them that they forget about the person and their right to privacy. I know you love us and you do enjoy the times you read to us and sign our books, but I agree that if you could write more and release more each year and maintain a higher level of quality, then the tours are that important. I have never had the pleasure of meeting you, and sure I would like to but, I am proud of my collection of hardcover 1st edition copies of ALL your work. Some are signed and purchased through the Signed Page (and that is not so I can sell your name on EBay) and I will never part with them until I die. Now if my surviving members of my family sell them on EBay well, there will be some real happy fan out there to pass them on to. I have gotten some signed work from there myself, so I don’t think its necessarily wrong, I’m just saying I bought mine to keep and not for profit. If you do ever get to Chicago, Milwaukee, or Stirling, I will definately be priviledged to meet you and have you sign about 20+ books for me! Regardless, wish you a long proserous and healthy life. I also want to say my prayers are with Shawn and that your website is the BEST author site EVER!

  7. What is important is that you do what makes you (and your family) content. A worn, stressed out author is no fun to be around (especially where your wife is concerned, I wager). If you don’t feel like spending a month touring, don’t. It is OKAY. Your fans will forgive you. As long as you are writing, of course. 😉

    Oh, and don’t be so hard on yourself. I am sure you are more interesting to others than you realize. We are often so used to our personalities that we take for granted the characteristics that others find intriquing.

  8. I understand your position, fortunately I live in the greater Seattle area so i am spoiled and get to see you more than most, but don’t sell yourself short one of the things that my family and myself look forward to most is your readings. You are not only a talented writer, but your are a great orator. I hate to take from someones Else’s story, but if this was the (Romanticized) middle ages i could see you as a Belgareth type traveling to different communities to tell stories by the fire. I look forward to seeing you again this year to have another part of one of your new stories told to me by it’s originator in his unique perspective. I mean how cool is that. thank you Terry for sharing your talent with us.

  9. I agree, writers should be writing. On the other hand I am really looking forward to meeting you and having some books signed. I have so many of your books it almost fills one of my book shelves and I am looking forward to passing my books to my son when he is older. I think he will love having some signed by you!!

  10. I can totally see that. I’ve spoken too and know several authors that always tell me how hard physically it can be to tour. I’m glad that you still do it, only if you could make it here to Utah someday soon. 🙂

  11. Terry, I just want to say that I am looking forward to meeting you in Boston early September. It will be a huge honor in not having you sign my book, but to maybe be able to chat briefly and get a picture in. I look forward to seeing my dream come true! 🙂

    • I meant to say not only having you sign my book, not the other way around. I just wanted to make that clear before anyone gets the wrong idea! I type way too fast for my own good sometimes!

  12. I’d say I agree with your sentiment regarding where authors should devote their time & energy. But I also think its great that people get to meet someone they admire & respect deeply. Sure hope I have that chance someday;-) The other posts seem to cover a good deal of the varying aspects of the underlying thought, so I’d say do what feels right at the given moment. I just hope we’re graced with your writings for some time to come. Thank you!

  13. I was fortunate to attend a “visit” in the Twin Cities. I appreciate the effort that it takes to go out on tour and that it has become much more of a challenge to travel recently. I greatly enjoyed your reading of the chapters. I use recorded books when I travel and would purchase “an author” reading of any of your books. :^)
    The website allows me to be in touch with what is going on. Shawn has done an EXCEPTIONAL job. (I was able to chat with him during the “visit”)
    Maybe doing some live web chats or such would be a way being on tour without all the stress and difficulties……
    Thank you for all that you have given to the reading world. (glad that you took a chance and give up the security of being a lawyer!)

  14. Terry,

    I’ve had the pleasure of meeting you at least a half dozen times since the early 90s at various bookstore signings in southwest Ohio.

    I know the first time I met you, I was simply awestruck because here was the man who had written the books that were such a huge part of my childhood and teenage years. I have always welcomed the opportunity to shake your hand and give thanks for the countless hours of pleasure your work has afforded me since I cracked open Elfstones the first time in the early 80s.

    Should you decide to return to the Dayton/Cincinnati area again sometime again, I will come see you and thank you again, but I would not bear you any ill will should you decide to stop touring. Every year I look forward to the release of your latest work and that’s enough for me.

  15. I certainly understand your hesitation with touring – and I for one would rather you be writing than touring. But since you are touring I’m gonna try and stop by when you swing into Raleigh next month. It’s a two hour drive for me – but I would really like to get a book or two signed. I’ve grown up reading your stuff and it would just be cool to shake the hand of and get a book signed by an author whose works have been a joy to read over the years. I know its gotta be a pain from your standpoint – but for us fans its pretty cool. It’s the next best thing to being able to sit down and have a beer with ya….

  16. In truth, I have never understood the need for people to get autographs or for people to slavishly follow ever nuance of someone else’s life. I have enough trouble keeping my own life progressing and those that are currently in it.

    Being a fellow Seattle-ite and an engineer and someone who has several 100,000+ word novels on the shelf that I’ve written for my kids to consume I would have enjoyment to sit over coffee and talk about shop a bit (am always curious about approaches others take on their craft.). However, that’s the closest I ever get to the traditional fan-dom. I would rather give people their space.

    That being said, I hope you keep writing until you decide to stop. Am a big believer in folks enjoying what they do for a living and I hope your life is long and full of enjoyment. My kids (who are 10-ish) are huge fans (in the more traditional sense) and my oldest already hinted at some signing you’ll be doing.

    Between Tolkien, yourself, wolverton, and now Sanderson, I can truly say you’ve been a a very prominent entry in my and my children’s lives. Keep it up, we all collectively thank you for your efforts.

    -Mike Rothman

  17. An author event is more about being able to put a face to a name, have a book signed, and being able to ask a burning question than learning about the author’s personal life. I rstill emember your event in Chicago for Armageddon’s Children, how that was the first cold and windy night of fall, but also how you signed as many books as we wanted and stayed to talk with us, too. I still treasure that memory.

  18. It must be both time consuming and tiring travelling to all those places but like me, I appreciate you coming to meet your fans. Having only meet you once when you came over to London and it was a real pleasure. Hope you decide to pop over the pond next year and visit us all in the United Kingdom. I know we’d all love to see you.

  19. Thank you, Terry. I have had the pleasure of meeting you twice now, and once receiving a hand-written letter from you. I am grateful for those times at book signings that for me were simply a peek into what makes you “tick”; I don’t have desire to know everything about you as your work clearly (and sometimes mistily) speaks for itself. And inspires others (like me with the song, “Mr. Brooks”). I think when one is a true artist, one does what one needs to do: whether that’s write write write and nothing else, or tour and interact with fans, or entertain the entertainment industry, or work a job, or spend time with family- or all things combined, it really doesn’t matter. I know, as a deeply and spiritually dedicated fan of your work, that I have been touched by and can greatly relate to the tales you tell so well. I think whatever you do is perfect. And most of all: THANK YOU FOR DOING WHAT YOU DO!

  20. Terry and Judine,

    I write this to both of you mostly because I know Judine is with you, sitting off on the sideline, watching your back while on tour. It was because of this, I was able to able to acquire some great memories with not only you,but with your sister and Judine as well. Being able to meet you was maybe (for most people) like meeting their idol or a famous rockstar or something. I remember meeting you at the Vegas signing as one of the highlights in my life… Me with my “vault” of books in tow. I’ve now sat and watched you sign a few times, while talking with Judine on the side. I’m always amazed at how much grace, patience and love you put forth toward us, your fans.

    Traveling is getting much tougher, and it can take the fun out of it. So I understand why you wouldn’t want to do stretches of touring. But perhaps just sticking your favorite areas… one here, one there. I say this because I’m thinking of that young man or woman who has read your books for some years, and because of your amazing talent and mind for writing fantasy, they get hooked. So, they take the next step and start looking into “Terry Brooks” the man online…find out that you’ll be close by in the near future, and suddenly they’re faced with conundrum! Will meeting you in person ruin “the magic” and mystery, or will it enhance their experience? I assure everyone who takes the time to read this… even if you have to travel 10,000 miles to meet Terry Brooks, do it. He’s Ben Holiday and the Paladin, a little bit of Questor and Wil Omsford, and of course he’s all Allanon, without being 7 feet tall.

    Every summer I look forward to reading the new book. And every few years I look forward to seeing you. If I had to choose… reading your books is an unfathomable treasure that we will always have with us… but knowing you, and being able to now call you friend has been one of the great miracles of my life.

    • Thank you for your kind words, Matt. Seems like ages since we’ve seen you. Hope all is going well with your work and life. We will be at the Tucson book extravaganza next year and maybe we’ll be able to head up your way either before or after the event. Meanwhile, I hope you will enjoy my “Touring with Terry” blog – a new thing for me. Say hi to Melinda for us . . .

  21. I believe that tours are great. It lets the ready meet the author and for some of us, that is better than meeting a movie star. Though films are great and actors get their due, writers steal our hearts and our minds as no one else can. Authors make us use our brains and figure out somethings for ourselves. To have our favorite author not tour would be like having our favorite band not write music or our favorite food lose its taste. When I met Mr. Brooks in Sacramento, Borders Books and Music on 9/14/2008 it was one of the best days of my life, i still remember it. I was the envy of my friends because some didn’t get to go and they like me have been reading these wonderful stories for many years. If you have to cut down Mr. Brooks, it is totally understandable, we love your books and your writing is what is most important, but we also love meeting you and seeing you in person. It is a real treat.

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