Tuesday, October 7, 2008
Is thinking outside the box good for book sales? We've done just about everything outside the box that it's possible to do. We've talked to gardeners and attended garden events for our garden mysteries. We've gone to NASCAR events for our stock car racing series. Now we're attending Renaissance festivals and fairs for our Renaissance fesstival mysteries and next month, we'll be at a psychic fair for our pet psychic mysteries.
In between, we've talked to writers at writing groups, cooked garden meals at garden groups, talked to students at career days and other events and signed books at vineyards, car festivals and shows, senior citizen's groups and created murder mystery dinners where we signed books and talked about our work.
Last weekend, we were at our hometown festival, Midland Magic. We sold a decent number of books but not more than we do at bookstores. There are good and bad events. Mostly, we do what we do for exposure, meeting the most people we can and talking about our work. It makes me feel a little like a politician, "Hey! Look at me! Read my book!"
I'm not particularlly shy about it but sometimes I wonder if it makes any difference. I know several authors who seem to do all right and never go out to bookstores or other wild events. They might attend a conference or two each year (although they mostly disdain those too) and their schedule must be less hectic. It has to be cheaper. We invest heavily in promotion each year before and after a new book comes out.
I've been told by some authors and agents in the know that the only REAL way to sell a buttload of books is to have the publisher work with distributors, booksellers and send the author on a nice book tour. If that's true, are we all wasting our time and money on promotion?