Yesterday I attended the 7th annual Central Coast Book Festival. Itâ€™s a rather small event held in the charming city of San Luis Obispo, CA (near Pismo Beach). Iâ€™ve had a booth at this event either with SPAWN or on my own almost every year. I think I missed once. While it has always a nice event, this year was particularly enjoyable. I shared a booth with two delightful womenâ€”Dr. Maxine Thompson, former social worker turned author/literary agent/radio show host and more, and her sister, Nancy. Maxine and I also participated together on a panel discussion about publishing. We had a good audience and a good time.
The booth next to us was womanned by members of the SLO NightWriters group. I had met some of these women before at other book festivals and a few years ago when I spoke at one of their meetings. I enjoyed conversing with this array of writers and sending local writers to them to discuss membership in the NightWriters. Likewise, the women at the NightWriters booth directed folks with publishing questions to me. And some of those attendees bought copies of my book, The Right Way to Write, Publish and Sell Your Book.
Another reason why this was a good event is because the attendees were actually buying books. I donâ€™t recall the residents of San Luis Obispo ever being so eager to purchase books. Maxine sold numerous copies of her novels. Copies of my book were flying out of the booth. And I noticed others around us also selling quite a few childrenâ€™s books, memoirs and so forth.
While I rarely make expenses when I participate in the SLO Book Festival, I continue to go there because of the exposure and the camaraderie. This year, in SLO, I made a profit, I got plenty of exposure, I enjoyed a generous helping of camaraderie AND I did some important networking. Here are 10 additional ways that this event worked for me:
1. Iâ€™ll feature Maxine in an upcoming issue of the SPAWN Market Update. I know that our members will enjoy reading about this literary agent and learning how to get on her Internet radio shows.
2. I also got a copy of Maxineâ€™s Hush Hush Secrets to Writing Fiction That Sells to review for an upcoming issue of SPAWNews.
3. Maxine, on the other hand, wants to interview me on one of her shows.
4. I made a connection with the NightWriters that will probably result in a speaking engagement. Their membership is over 100 now, so this could be a lucrative opportunity.
5. I met a man who is soliciting articles for his local literary journalâ€”Iâ€™ll report this opportunity to SPAWN members.
6. I connected face-to-face with a few SPAWN members whom I only get to see at events such as these.
7. I met about 25 writers and authors at various stages of their workâ€”most of whom had questions and some of whom may eventually purchase one or more of my books or they might come to me for a consultation or other help with their projects.
8. I got some ideas for new articles. Authorsâ€™ questions often generate new article ideas.
9. I had a drawing for a free book and came home with the email addresses for about two dozen writers to add to my mailing list.
10. My book got exposure that it wouldnâ€™t have received had I stayed in my home office and had I kept the book in the dark closet.
So what did you do this weekend? Did you spend any time promoting your book, soliciting homes for some of your articles, working on your book proposal or writing your book? Did you take every opportunity available to get exposure for your work? Or do you only talk about wanting to write, promote your book, develop a book proposal? If you fit into the later category, here are some tips to help you jumpstart your project:
1. Make your project a priority. I canâ€™t tell you how many people claim they just donâ€™t have time to write. I also know people who have managed to write a book and promote it despite an extremely busy schedule. The fact is, if you donâ€™t have the time or canâ€™t find the time, this isnâ€™t the right time to launch your project. When the time is right and when you are ready, you will find/make the time no matter what else is going on in your life. If you truly want to produce a book, make it a priority in your life, be willing to make some sacrifices and start writing.
2. If you find yourself near a bookstore, go inside and spend an hour (your lunch hour?) doing the research necessary toward the development of your book proposal, for example, or check historical facts for your story.
3. Attend local book festivals and writers conferences to pick up tips and ideas and for the networking opportunities. There are almost always writers/publishers organizations represented. Let the directors help guide you. But also talk to the many authors you will meet there. Find out where they made their publishing mistakes. Ask for recommendations of publishers, promotional ideas, etc.
4. I talk to many successful authors and freelance writers who built their businesses by getting up an hour or two earlier every morning to work on their projects. I am one of those authors. I went from full-time employee to full-time freelance writer and author by getting up two hours earlier and spending that time writing. I also gave up many social activities on weekends in order to spend this time writing. Determine what is taking much of your otherwise free time and make some changes. Whether it is TV that gets most of your attention, clubbing, entertaining or reading, if you want to succeed as a writer or author, you really must at least cut back on these activities and spend that time honing your craft or building your writing/publishing business.
5. If you have a book to promote, spend time each week sending out email press releases, notices and announcements to appropriate Web sites, for publication in appropriate newsletters and to libraries, for example.
6. Again, if youâ€™re in promotion mode, do more networking. Join clubs and organizations, particularly those where youâ€™ll be connecting with people who are potentially interested in your book. Show your book to people. Talk about it. Hand out bookmarks advertising your book. Drop off bookmarks where they will be seen by your audience. I know a master promoter who leaves her promotional bookmarks scattered around in the restrooms at meeting halls and other venues where numbers of people gather.
Hopefully, Iâ€™ve succeeded in motivating you to do more to make your book a reality or to make it successful. Of course, youâ€™ll find additional ideas and lots of encouragement in The Right Way to Write, Publish and Sell Your Book. http://www.matilijapress.com/rightway.html