The Atlantic has an essay by author Ann Patchett about the lonely life of book touring. It's a lovely piece and well worth reading.
"...I covered about 25 cities and kept my expenses under $3,000. With one good dress in the trunk of my car, I would drive to Chicago, find the McDonald’s closest to the bookstore, change clothes in the bathroom (say what you will for the food, they have the cleanest bathrooms), go to the bookstore, and present myself to the person behind the counter. That has always been the hardest part for me, approaching the stranger at the cash register to say that I am the seven o’clock show. We would look at each other without a shred of hope and both understand that no one was coming...
"...A column in my local paper, The Tennessean, recently reminded me of that. The reporter remembered my appearance at a Book & Author Dinner in Nashville in 1992, during which I sat alone at a signing table while huge crowds assembled for the other authors, Ricky Van Shelton (a country-music heartthrob who had written a children’s book), Janet Dailey (a best-selling romance author), and Jimmy Buffett (no explanation needed). The editor of the paper felt so sorry for me that he quietly instructed 25 members of his staff to buy my book, stand in my line, and get my autograph, something I never knew had happened until I read it in the paper 15 years later. All those dutiful employees were later reimbursed for the price of a hardback."
From Gawker, which includes an even worse book tour horror story.