Hi all--My first thriller is coming out in late Spring, early summer and I've been looking into the avenues for marketing and promotion. (Backstory--I found an agent that was excited about book, spent a year with her doing revisions/polishing, she sent to the big publishers, no bites, and it was clear no more would be done. So rather than starting the search for agents all over again, I decided to go it alone and do POD and e-books and see if I can make something happen. I created a publishing company) So we're in production right now, and I recently learned about Killer Nashville that happens in August--a book fair that's specifically for thrillers, mysteries, suspense. I'm investigating what's involved in getting an author table at conference--I don't really know what's involved cost wise yet, but I've never even been to a book conference, let alone been an author promoting a book! Very intimidated by the whole idea, though I wonder if this is the kind of stuff it's going to take to get some readers! Any experience or advice to share? I wonder if this is something I should do after it's been out for a while, or if I'm better to do it right off the bat when the book is first coming out. Thanks in advance!
I would definitely do it! I would go as far as to contact the people in charge and find out if you can get on a panel. You may have some expertise to share with attendees. (I'll bet this year they'll be doing a panel on self-publishing, for example, and if they're not you could suggest it.)
In the meantime, find other nearby bookfests to attend, to get an idea of what they're like. Lots of fun, and full of people who want to find books and meet authors.
I say go for it :) I've done several book fairs and festivals. It's a blast on top of getting to sell books, you make a lot of good contacts and learn from other authors and their experiences. If you're not sure you want to start with a big one like Killer Nashville check into your local book clubs and libraries. My library does 3 festivals a year. They're a bit smaller but you can get a feel for what it will be like. And most of them are free to be apart of :) I'm doing Authors in the Park at the end of March. A local event but it's going to be huge with food, live music, artists exhibits along with 12 authors showcasing their books I can't wait :) And it doesn't cost me anything but my own personal supplies to be a part of the event.
Thanks Petrea and Elisa--both good ideas. I think I'll check out the local scene first...And Elisa--since it sounds as if you've done a few, how many copies of the books do you actually bring? And do you sell them at a discount? This is all a new world to me:) As Sophie pointed out, I'm sure this is not enough sales to cover the costs of going, so I'll have to weigh all the pros/cons a bit more too.
The amount of books I bring depends on the size of the event. For a local library event I order 8 of each. for something like a large convention 12-20 each. It's always better to run out of books than to be tuck with them :) You can always give out promotional materials with where to buy print and ebook. I do discount the print books some. I make sure the cost of the books plus a profit is covered. My books on line sell for 10.99 -13.99 I sell them on my table usually for 10 even.
Something I started doing this last year was putting the books as a pdf on a mini disc and selling those for 1-2 dollars each. I also print out a flash fiction piece and sell those for 25 cents as a try me read :) People have loved both of those and I usually sign the flash story for them so it's kind of souvenir of the event :)
Good for you, E.C. I had a similar experience with my novels--agents interested, lots of revisions, blah, blah, blah--and finally decided to go out on my own and just do it. Started my own pub company (imprint) and released a book in paperback last week. Kindle version coming soon! Here's the link, BTW.
I've been invited to participate in my very first book fair/celebration in my town in a couple of weeks and am really excited but nervous. I'll be sure to come back and let you know how it works out.
That's great---sounds like we're on parallel paths--I'd definitely love to hear how that goes. Good luck!
You can go to a book fair, but realize that it will probably be a waste of time. You have to weigh the cost in time, travel and outlays/expenditures, because you will NEVER sell enough books to cover the entrance fee, gas, tolls, food, motel room, etc. Dollar for dollar, you should be allocating your precious resources of time and money to those avenues that will most help you SELL books. Read the article I have attached, "Marketing Writers to Readers" by Mary Tod on her blog, "A Writer of History". Research shows that 58% of Readers get book recommendations from friends, 55% from websites and blogs, 37% get book recommendations from online retailers, 38% from Social Media, 49% from Bookstores, and 26% from Newspaper Reviews. Note that nowhere does it say that readers get book recommendations at book fairs. Whatever that number is, it's TOO LOW TO COUNT. Readers favor websites like "Goodreads" for recommendations, book blogs, and Amazon. Some book bloggers can help you set up "blog tours" for a very small fee. I would start there.
If you approach your writing career like a business, it will help you make better decisions on how to market the product you have created.
That's really helpful advice--thank you! I'll definitely weigh the cost/benefit analysis as I figure this out. I had assumed it wouldn't be great for actual sales, but I just wondered if it might be beneficial in the more intangible ways. But yes, from my own experience, nothing matters as much as a recommendation. I assumed thought that the big publishers have authors doing these kinds of things which made me wonder....
Traditionally-published writers have to go to public events because they're under contract. It's also good PR. But it will not translate into actual sales for someone like you who is just starting out. If you're looking for a diversion from your normal routine, a chance to network, something to do, and money is no object, then by all means--go. But read the article I attached previously and attack the issue of selling your book like a marketing executive. This website "SheWrites" recently had a webinar with a guy you can hire to help you with your book marketing for $99. THAT would be a MUCH better investment of your time & money than traipsing to a book fair and trying to get disinterested people to buy your book.
Here is a list of the world's most popular book blogs to start preparing your virtual tour:
Great-advice and thanks for the info. I'll look into the guy you mentioned and the blogs.
Wow, Sophie, this is an incredible list. I was just talking to someone today about trying to schedule a blog tour. It seems like a ton of work though--finding bloggers to work with--and this list will help a lot. One caveat: at least some of these blogs won't work with self-pubbed writers. But I'm sure some of them do and I really appreciate you sending this!!