Once you become published and have something to sell, it’s time to get out there and let people know you exist. You have a book, and well…it’s time to start marketing.
For many authors, the ugly reality finally hits once you have a book under your belt. The pure joy and sometimes agony (if you don’t love to write) is replaced with the fact that now that you finished the thing, it’s not going to sell itself!
Of course, if you happened to sign with one of the big five, they have built-in marketing machines.
Unless you’ve written the best thing since sliced bread, which is highly unlikely, and folks, rarely does lightning strike, they’re not going to just let you sit back while they do all the work! If you get an advance, which is also, by the way, getting rarer by the day, they’re going to expect you to sink at least a good chunk of that into your own marketing effort.
What this all boils down to is no matter who publishes your work, you, that means YOU are eventually going to have to get out in the trenches and sell your book, whether you like it or not.
Which brings me to…
Probably one of the easiest events to market your book, especially for you wallflowers, is the book festival.
The center of attention isn’t all on you. You aren’t the complete focus of the event.
You’re given a table spot where you can set up your display, sometimes with room for a banner (which you may or may not have to pay for yourself), business cards, bookmarks, publicity sheets and of course, books to sell.
Along with dozens to hundreds of other authors, you get a chance to meet from tens to hundreds to thousands of people.
Now, the hazards of book festivals, especially for wallflowers are the same as I’ve talked about in book signings in the past.
Remember the term I used above? Marketing?
By my definition, marketing means to sell, to go out and seek buyers, to let people know about your book.
If you go to a book festival and sit at your table and knit, or scrunch behind the table and look at your cell phone for the entire time, guess what’s going to happen?
Almost everyone is going to pass you by. Unless you have a super attractive cover, and even then, a lot of people are going to be distracted by everyone around you who are going to be talking to them and telling them about their book!
You have to stand up, engage people, talk to them. Only use the chair to ease your legs once in a while or to make a sale.
Have a candy bowl, or something to attract people to your side of the table.
The whole idea of going to these events is to get out there and tell people about your book. You can’t do that if you don’t make any effort to engage them.
Often, these events are free to you, the author, or at best, they’re a token charge.
Maybe they cost the travel time and a hotel room and meals. It’s the cost of doing business.
Quite often, you may not sell a single book. However, if you talk to people, give them business cards and book marks, that’s spreading the word.
Also, think of this.
Even if you don’t sell a thing, you’re talking to other authors and sometimes, you run across people passing by who may not buy your book, but maybe they want to review it. Sure, they may want a free copy, but if you can get a review posted, why not? Anything to get another review on line helps boost notoriety about your book.
Personally, I’ve done several of these festivals. I sold one book and considered it a success at one. At another, I didn’t sell any but I was able to get the book reviewed. It took a year, but the review was a good one. I consider that one a success and I got invited back to the festival again.
I have another one I’m going to this weekend. I sold one book there last year. Success. Even if I don’t sell a thing this year, if I can network, pass out cards, bookmarks, I’ll consider it a success.