In an earlier post, I took pleasure in noting how my publisher has really gotten behind me with The Tourist, and on Wednesday another phase of its stellar support will begin. I’ll take off from Belgrade airport and begin a prepublication tour that’ll whisk me through six cities (DC, Boston, New York, San Francisco, Seattle and St Paul) in 10 days. Group lunches and dinners, cocktail parties, and lots of book expos.

It’s going to be hard work, pumping hands, meeting booksellers and editors and librarians, and consuming fine food and wine at the publisher’s expense, but someone has to do it.

No, I mean really. Of course it’ll be a blast, and this is the kind of support all writers—and particularly midlist writers who’ve been at it for some years—dream of. But it’s not just a whirlwind vacation, and the novelist is expected to rise to the occasion. Which means I’ll have to do more than just look pretty (a chore in itself); I’ll have to speak, socialize, entertain, and generally be the kind of person that, even after the hangover’s worn off, one actually remembers in a positive light.

And therein lies the old conundrum. How does the kind of person who chooses a career rife with solitude suddenly turn it on and become a social animal?

I’m not sure. A few years ago, this whole tour would have worried me, but there’s something to be said for toiling away for five books before finally breaking out into the larger world. At this point, I’ve gained enough confidence in what I do to be able to speak about writing with some fluidity, in a hopefully interesting way. Life has changed, and with a wife and a daughter I have reasons outside of my own ego to want this to be a success. Those life changes also give me a few extra stories to tell.

Anyway, the fact is that I’m now about to embark on my first US tour, a full six months before The Tourist will be released. We’ve been talking about setting up a blog to cover the trip, and if so I’ll aggregate it on the Nomad with links to Minotaur’s main blog site. Otherwise I’ll at least drop a few lines from the road.

Stay tuned.

(Originally posted at the Contemporary Nomad)