My first event
Posted September 18, 2011on:
Well, not my first first event, but the first event at which I was on a selling floor trying to promote my book. It was at I-Con, a SF/F media con that takes place not far from where I live on LI. Shortly after Unbinding the Stone came out I was allowed to participate in the con as an author in their literary track. Lots of authors gathered together to participate in a variety of panels on various topics in SF/F literature.
A sidelight of this was a space at the author table down in the Dealer’s Room of the con. I was scheduled for Sunday afternoon, which is pretty much death for a selling event. Most of the people in the dealer’s room had bought what they wanted, spent all their money, and had no interest in fitting in a last-minute purchase of a book they’d never heard of by an author they probably still haven’t heard of.
We had two tables, me and this other author scheduled for the same time. The tables had no covers and looked like portable folding tables usually look, i.e., gross. The other author put a small stack of her book, a MMP, on the table, with a small stack of postcards for it right in front. Total space covered, about a half a square foot out of 24. Then she sat down and started to chat with an author friend in the next chair.
What’s wrong with this picture?
I looked at this; thinking “Do you really expect to sell any books like this?” And she almost certainly didn’t. I had higher hopes. I put my poster of the book cover on the table, covering a good amount of space. I took my stack of bookmarks and smeared it across the table, covering more space. And I took my copies of the book and CD and spread those out too, covering half the table. Then I stood up behind my table and started calling out to the people passing by, attracting them to come and over and see what I had. I didn’t sell anything but I at least got my bookmark into their hands.
I see the same pattern at many of the events I do now. Ugly displays, displays that block off the seller from the customer. Vendors who just sit their, waiting for eager customers to swarm up, begging for the chance to buy their products.
I’ll tell you right now, It don’t work like that.