It was only a matter of time before somebody figured out how to do this, and somehow I’m not surprised that it was Chris Anderson, editor of Wired and author of The Long Tail.
The site is BookTour.com, and the idea is that authors upload information about their books and their tour dates, venues (bookstores, libraries, book clubs, lecture series, conferences) upload information about their events and about the kind of speakers they’d like to book, and readers can type in their zip code and see who’s coming to their area.
Authors can even post a date when they’ll be in town but don’t have anything booked, in case a venue would like to contact them. Very clever use of GoogleMaps makes it easy for readers to get directions to the event. And so on.
You can see my page here. If you’re part of a club or organization that hosts authors, I’ll hope you’ll sign up. If you’re an author, get over there! It’s still in beta, so there are a few bugs, but it’s getting better every day, and it’s all free and incredibly cool.