I now have two beautiful bookmarks, one for each book, and a hanging banner, two and a half feet by six feet. These were made because I shared a table with another fantasy writer at the 2017 Starfest Science Fiction/Fantasy Fan Convention in April. I received all three items in time to do a trial run of the banner and bookmarks at a much smaller convention (dance oriented not scifi or fantasy) two weeks prior to the Starfest Convention to good success. At this much smaller convention I had expected to sell a couple of books, mostly to individuals who I knew had purchased the first book of the series and were expecting me to have the second with me. I ended up selling a dozen
books and connected with three other dancer leaders who were also writers. I decided that was a fluke and just good timing and placement. The fact I had both books available probably accounted for many of the sales. When I returned home from the dance convention and faced the knowledge that I was jumping off the next cliff by being at an author table at one of the first fan-based conventions I felt more than a bit overwhelmed. I chose to approach this first genre specific convention with the intention of just being there, enjoying the happenings, make connections with readers and other authors as well as get the word out and begin creating a buzz – not just to sell a bunch of books. Whether I sold one book or all 75 that I had on hand I planned to be happy. Marketing is hard and it takes a lot of time to do on your own.
That being said I sold six books. I count that as success! I am slowly learning and adding to my knowledge. I am not trying to do everything at the same time – first thing was to write a good story. Then I brought in a talented network of specialists who make my books and marketing efforts better (editors, proofreaders, book cover and interior designers, eBook transformers, etc). I made inroads to building a presence on Facebook, Goodreads, Amazon.com, LinkedIn, and am very slowly updating my website and trying to keep active on my blog.
The exciting thing about the banner and the bookmarks is that people SEE them, not necessarily me at the table with a pile of books. They don’t HAVE to come over and ask what I am writing the banner, in particular, announces to everyone who walked by our table what was available – often we’d see people pause in their hurry to get to the main auditorium to look at our banners. Just noticing that they slowed long enough to get a visual was a mark of success. We both received positive attention and many of those who paused returned for closer examination of what we offered. They talked with us about our books, our ideas, what was next, and a lot of other fun stuff.
And between Thanksgiving and Christmas last year, 2017, I joined nine other authors at the Georgetown Christmas Market in Georgetown, Colorado, about 45 minutes west of Denver. One of the fun things about that event was the two people who recognized the banner and books from the Starfest Convention in April 2017! I had not yet decided whether I would do Starfest this year (2018) and when both asked if I was planning to be at the upcoming convention again I immediately said yes without much thinking – thus booking a weekend in April 2018. At least one of those people actually came looking for me at the event – bringing a friend to buy both books at her recommendation. I sold over a dozen books during the two day event. Then the woman asked if I was going to have the third book ready in time for the Georgetown Christmas Market in December 2018, because she was planning to come up. I’m guessing that an audience for my stories are building – however slowly, it is cool to be recognized as an author. So, the banner, the book marks, business cards, etc. all have helped get my books in front of people/readers. These are tools I will continue to build on to increase the marketing of my stories.
More excursions into different ways of marketing fiction are being planned – I’m getting some help because I cannot do it all and with help in areas of technology that I know I am lacking, I am beginning to get the word out on these two award winning books even as I have been working on the next book because readers are demanding the third book. Marketing also involves letting readers know that the third book is well under way and the good news is that the rough draft was completed this week! Now for the editing.
While I am busy writing, editing, expanding my knowledge of marketing fiction, and catching up on my stack of books to read (yes, authors do read other authors’ books. It helps us become better writers), I am hoping readers help spread the word. I encourage you to ask me questions, send me comments, and please post a review if you enjoyed reading The Blood and/or The Balance.
- P.S. By winning a Second Place in the 2017 CIPA EVVY Awards in the science fiction category, The Balance joins book one, The Blood, as an award winning book. Of course, my editor points out that this means the third book should, obviously, be good enough to garner a first place award. No pressure there!