a little backstory
Posted June 29, 2010on:
Author Guy, in addition to being me, is also the name of my little bookselling operation, created out of dire and desperate need to fill a glaringly empty gap, namely, the lack of Echelon Press titles readily available in the world. Especially my own. As such, Author Guy, and therefore me as the proprietor, is occasionally to be found out in the world, books in hand, making them available to a grateful book-buying public.
Generally, these events are small. I first thought about selling my books at events when I saw a sign for one such on a High School fence. I called the school, and then the people running the event, and got myself a space in a number of such events for the remainder of the year, which usually runs from mid-April to Christmas. Naturally I lost money, but I sold books, which was the important part. I also met many people who said they loved to read, just not fantasy, which is when I decided to acquire other titles. Then over the break Echelon made it possible to get their books at dealer prices, so I did, about 60 of them. Then, since I had the books, I had to read them if I wanted to be able to sell them, so I read them all, as I have read every Echelon title since.
I can describe the plot of nearly every book on my shelves. People seem to think this is unusual.
The following year I started looking for events in earnest, and I learned which ones worked for me and which ones didn’t. Street fairs and the like are pretty bad, since they are usually expensive and the people don’t want books much. Church fairs are much better, in both respects. It also helps to live where I do, with many small towns very close together, lots of people, lots of money. Some places are more book-friendly than others, and I learned that the hard way too. My home town has a local festival that gets quite a few books sold.
Over the years I’ve seen many authors doing what I do, but none carry all their publisher’s books. Author Guy is unique.
Then my publisher asked me to go with her to a book festival, I think it was in South Carolina. You can imagine my delight at the thought, travelling 800+ miles and getting a hotel room, to sell books. Gotta sell the books. So I went, met a few fellow authors, not to mention my publisher, had fun, got sick, sold books anyway. Then she asked me to go to Chicago, for Printer’s Row. And I went, my son with me, to sell books.
These first two times, by the way, I went as me, not as Author Guy, and lost money big time. Neither venue was all that fantasy-friendly. So the next time (yes, I went back), I went as Author Guy, because she wanted me to come back and she figured I probably wouldn’t if I was only going to lose money on the deal. She may have been right, too. My daughter was with me this time, and everybody there just adored her.
In between I discovered the joys of conventions. Hell, if I was going to pay big bucks to travel 5 states away, why not pay big bucks to go down the street. ICON is on Long Island in March, after all, and Lunacon is in Westchester in February. This also neatly fills the gap between vending seasons, too. And then there’s Confluence, a small but friendly convention in Pittsburgh in July. We’ve done a few cons which bombed, but fortunately not too many.
So we keep busy at Author Guy, trying to get our books into your hot little hands. That’s what it’s all about.
Feel free to drop me a line and tell me if I’ve missed putting a link under every ‘book’ up there. You may win a prize. As if the links weren’t prize enough.