When I look back now, I realize that writing a book is the easy part of being an author. It’s what comes after that can make you pull out your hair and scream. Unfortunately, I walked in blind, never considering marketing and promoting my book as a necessary step that I needed to take. I wrote it, so people were going to buy it – right? Not so much. I had a small group of readers who claimed to love my books, but no real plan for the future. One of those supporters was a friend of mine from grade school. She believed in the story I had to tell and introduced me to the land of trade shows and festivals, offering to let me use a side table in her tent at an event where she was vending. She sold candles and clothes. I had my books and an appetite eager for success.
On this, my day of crowning glory, I packed up posters, business cards, swag, and books to display proudly. I walked into my first event wide-eyed and bushy-tailed, ready to take on a fantastic day of sales. The small town park bustled with people taking in all the sights but, to my dismay, spending very little. I sold seven books out of the hundreds I brought. Of course, there was a wicked wind storm that ended the afternoon early and I wasn’t technically promoted as being there. Still, it was disappointing, to say the least. So, you are probably wondering, what, if anything, went right. The answer is simple – networking. I learnt a lot about the meaning of the word on that summer day.
Two people stood out in the crowd, setting me on a course to working a book tour, a journey that continues to grow with every passing day. The first man seemed like an unlikely ally. He was a fellow author peddling his wares in another booth. I was surprised to find how helpful he actually was, even if he did keep mentioning that his wife didn’t like him sharing information. Lucky for me, he didn’t listen to his wife. We spent a good half an hour discussing Fan Expo and his experiences there. He was a ‘Con’ addict and made it sounded promising. The second was another author who did not have a booth at the festival. She whispered words of book tours, author signings, and Word on the Street, the Toronto literacy festival. My imagination of grandeur took on a life of its own. In the end, I walked out with a lot to think about.
Needless to say, my stomach was tied in knots over the idea of attending a large scale event. I knew I wasn’t prepared to handle more than one. This was all new to me and I had no idea what to expect. After a few battles in my own mind, I decided a book festival was the way to go. Contacting one of the organizers of Word on the Street Toronto was easy. My first request, however, was denied. A few weeks later, I received an email offering me a spot that someone else had backed out of. I snapped it up with enthusiasm. Whether that was the correct route or not, I may never know. It was, however, experience.
Leading up to the book festival, all I felt was panic. Somewhere between 100,000 and 200,000 are expected to attend yearly. I wanted everything to be perfect but had no idea how to achieve that goal. After living through all this, I can say that the information readily available from random internet searches and free resources is lacking.
Over the coming weeks, I’d like to share with you all my experiences, tips and warnings about working a circuit of shows, festivals, cons, book signings, readings and panels through a series of articles. In the end, I hope you will find yourself better prepared to take your first step into the world of live events.
For more information and to read about The Portal Prophecies by C. A. King, click the link! www.portalprophecies.com