This week, I attended my first two book-related events as an author: a book talk / signing at Jabberwocky Books and the Merrimack Valley Halloween Book Festival.
For someone with lots of social anxiety, planning, committing too, and/or attending events is no small feat, but somehow, I managed to set up a launch event and sign up for a book festival.
After convincing myself that one event or another wasn’t going to happen, they did. I did my talk and signing at Jabberwoky. I sold books at the festival.
I learned a few things.
For first time authors, launch events are really for family and friends. Unless you have a fascinating non-fiction topic people want to learn about, if they don’t know who you are, they are probably not going to take time out of their Friday night to listen to you talk about your book. That’s my theory, anyway.
On the other hand, my family and friends showed. They were super excited to be there, to have me sign a copy of Power Surge, and to congratulate me. I was the only one that seemed disappointed that there weren’t any “strangers” in the audience.
It is a lot easier to stand at a podium and talk to strangers than it is to talk to people I know.
The book festival wasn’t any different than the craft fairs I attended back when I sold sea glass jewelry. A lot of people attended, but there were also a lot of vendors. People walked by the table, picked up books, said good things about them, and walked away, saying they needed to look more before buying.
90% of people who say they will or might come back do not.
I brought about fifty copies of Power Surge and sold three. I brought ten copies of Drabbledark and sold four. At craft fairs, I’d have at least fifty pieces of jewelry, and I’d sell somewhere between four and ten pieces.
I made some mistakes:
- As usual, I left something I needed at home.
- I arrived at the venue with just enough time to set up, but not enough time to take a breath between set up and people walking in.
- I had to make three trips to the car because I brought too much and it wasn’t packed up efficiently.
These three mistakes are ones I made early in my craft fair and flea market days.
It wasn’t all a disaster. I remebered to get plenty of one dollar bills, so I could make change. I brought snacks, and ALL the pens and sharpie I needed.
Next time, I won’t let anxiety and imposter syndrome stop me from preparing. I’ll pack efficiently, and get everything ready the night before. I’ll have a larger variety of items.
I’ll be ten times more confident.