Book marketing is fun!
No really, it is.
Finding locations in which to sell your books is nearly as creative a process as writing them. Many authors just throw their book out on Amazon and hope and pray it finds an audience. While it does happen from time to time that authors become overnight sensations via Kindle Direct Publishing… you’d be better off just going and picking the right six numbers.
In order to find markets for your book, you have to place them in the faces of your target readers, early, often and vibrantly.
My job today, according to the Author Blog Challenge, is to define markets outside of bookstores where my book could be sold. Then, of course, I’m supposed to answer the question: WhaddaYaGonnaDoAboutIt?
Well, Missus Smarty Pants Blog Challenger… this one is easy! Because I think about it all the time.
Last year, I attended the Arizona Renaissance Festival. Of course I did… I typically buy season tickets. Anyway, the very nice woman who runs the bookstore there on the road to the Jousting Pavilion offers a table where local authors can do sign & sell events. Qualifications are, of course, that the book must fit the Ren Faire theme (fantasy of some sort) and you have to look the part.
Let me think… who loves to dress in garb and talk about her fantasy novel? Why yes! That would be me! The merchant kindly gave me her card and told me to call her in the middle of October to schedule my space. *checks watch* Looks like I have a phone call to make!
My first signing and book debut is taking place at an arts festival. We have a lot of those in Arizona. Some of them are even reasonably priced for table space. However, not all festivals are created equal. There are many with which my book would flop… targeted toward older audiences interested in Native American pottery and crocheted doilies… I could waste my money buying table space there, but why?
Some of the ones I’d fit best with are the Flagstaff Highland Games, the Phoenix Highland Games, the Irish Cultural Festival, Pagan Pride, the Sharlot Hall Folk Festival, the Tucson Book Faire, Tucson ComiCon and….
Those two events are my pièce de résistance. I squee at the thought of selling and signing my books to the hordes of geeks (i.e., my people) who roam those halls every year. ComiCon is attended by 70,000 people. FanFest is growing in size every year. They take place at enormous venues, and nearly everyone who passes through the door is a potential reader for my books.
How, then, does one secure booth space at these events?
Well, first you must contact them and ask them how much said space costs, if said space is available, and if not, is there a waiting list.
Then you work it out, budget-and-schedule-wise. These events aren’t free, and I’m not invited as a panelist or guest. Yet. So that means making a plan, prioritizing, scheduling and then jumping in, feet first!
Typically, authors don’t attend festival-type events alone. Splitting booth space at an event is both cost- and time-effective. I’m the perpetual organizer… so it stands to reason that I’m a great candidate for procuring booth space, organizing the funding, taking payments from authors and leading the promotion party.
I also love it and am extremely thankful when I get to be the person who pays into a booth, and then I can just run my own promotion on my end. I’d like to thank Laura over at Marcie Brock, Book Marketing Maven for setting up the booth space for the event where I will launch Rising!
I wanted to get in with a group that I know already has table space secured for ComiCon… alas, she is full-up with a respectable waiting list. I asked to be tacked on to the end of that list, but also sent an inquiry to the ComiCon exhibitor contact to get my own ball rolling. Considering the waiting list in place, and considering the number of authors I could list off who would probably be interested, I’m certain I could fill a booth.
There’s a key theme running through this post regarding these venues.
Know your audience. Find venues that match your reader’s demographics. Determine whom to contact. Ask for your space.
The worst they can say is “no.” Just keep plugging until you’ve filled both your calendar and budget for the year.
Then, gather your goodies: Giveaways, bookmarks with your online sales links, signage, one sheets, business cards… don’t forget your stack of books!… get out there, and make yourself known!