I spent the day in my element yesterday—amidst hopeful and struggling authors at the Ventura Book Festival and Writers Conference. It was a great day. I saw authors I’ve met before—several who have read some of my books. I talked to authors who knew my name and came looking for me and I met new authors in search of information.
My Publishing Workshop was filled almost to capacity and everyone seemed to be hanging onto my every word. I focused on educating the authors about the publishing industry and describing their publishing options.
When I asked the audience how many people knew that it is the author’s responsibility to promote his or her own book, NO ONE raised a hand. But I did get some of the typical questions, “You mean the publisher won’t promote the book for me?” “I can’t rely on the publisher to promote my book?”
Several people in the audience and others who stopped by my booth bought books from me. In fact, I was the only one selling books in my immediate area. I don’t know how the other booksellers were doing overall, but I didn’t see many people carrying books around, except for mine.
The fact that my books and my workshop got so much interest reinforces my belief that many people are blindly writing books. By this, I mean that they are writing a book to distribute and sell with no understanding of the publishing industry. They do not know how they will get from point A to point B, let alone to point Z! And it thrills me when they do venture out from their writing rooms in search of information and resources. I’m especially pleased when they seek me out or stumble across me at an event like this. And these experiences also reinforce my belief in the value of exposure.
I told you that the people around me were not selling books. And they may feel as though the day was a waste of their time. Some of them might vow never to do another book festival again. But those people are overlooking the great opportunity they had to be noticed. Around 300 people walked past their booths and took a look at their books. Some of those people picked up the books, asked questions and took business cards or brochures. That’s known as exposure. The authors’ books were listed in the program which many people took home and shared with others. Some of the visitors told others about the books they saw at the event.
And don’t discount the experience you get each time you have the opportunity to talk about your book. You learn something new each and every time and, if you’re truly paying attention, you become more and more accomplished.
Go out and find ways to get exposure for your book. It’s the only way you are going to find readers/consumers. And realize that sales receipts aren’t the only way to measure the success of an event. Always consider the exposure value, too.
If you are thinking about writing a book for publication or you are in the process of writing it, and you haven’t purchased your copy of The Right Way to Write, Publish and Sell Your Book, do so now! http://www.matilijapress.com/rightway.html