One year into this writing adventure, I’ve already learned so much along the way. Not only about writing itself, but also how to market my work and myself as an author, what sells and what doesn’t, and what the general public prefers in their TBR pile. It has been an exciting ride thus far, and one for which I am very grateful.
One very important thing that I’ve learned is that you can’t just publish your book and hope for the best. You must really get your hands dirty and work to promote it! After conquering the basic book signing event last winter, I decided to branch out this summer to festivals, fairs, and book talks. This month, I went to my first festival, which was geared toward all things fantasy and a perfect venue to showcase my first fantasy novel.
I learned a lot of valuable things just from this one event. Festivals and fairs are much like book signings, but I found them to be much more competitive (in a good way). Not only did I have to sell my books, but I also had to sell myself as an author and a professional, because there were so many other vendors. It really does come down to whose booth is more eye-catching, attractive, and inviting to the passers-by.
It helps to have something for everyone. While my book is geared more towards an older age group, I made sure to have something free on my table for kids to take. So many kids came up for the freebies, which attracted the older kids and adults to come to my booth and take a look at my book.
What I found most interesting was the different types of people I met while sitting in my little booth on that hot Saturday afternoon. Meeting with kids, teens, and adults who all share a love of books and fantasy was amazing. It felt like home talking to them and sharing my experience with writing the book. It was an incredible feeling to watch people’s faces light up when they saw the beautiful cover of my book and to hear them get excited about the story. Even among the vendors, there was a sense of camaraderie and friendship, of which I was happy to partake, while learning the ropes of my first festival event.
It might seem like a daunting task to set up your first event, but it really is worth it. There are so many great people (aka potential readers) to meet, events to explore, and adventures to find when you take that next step as an author. And you never know who might show up at your event…
Keshia C. Willi