Monday, April 16, 2012

Etiquette Tips for Author Events - And a Nook First Recap

What I'm reading: Contest entry 3 of 4; In Plain Sight, by C.J. Box

First – a quick Nook First recap. My 30 day commitment is almost over (and thanks to those who—I hope—have been patiently waiting for SAVING SCOTT to be available for all the other e-reading devices out there). Sales are, as expected, dropping off, but are still far more than what I'd seen at Barnes & Noble prior to the Nook First campaign

Before Nook First, I was very pleased with my Amazon sales. I still am, but I thought a quick comparison might be in order. Remember, this is "regular" Amazon, not their Select program. I've never done free giveaways there.

Amazon sales, all my titles, between March 19th and April 14th: 2,329.
Barnes & Noble sales, all my titles, same date range: 13,824.
Adjusted Barnes & Noble Sales, excluding SAVING SCOTT, which isn't available at Amazon: 9,270.

On Saturday, I participated in a library program, Mountain of Authors, at one of the Pikes Peak library branches. There were panels on thrillers and on e-publishing, as well as a keynote speech by author Connie Willis. In addition, between the panel discussions, local authors (myself included)  were "showcased" and allowed to introduce themselves, their work, and sell books to help raise money for their Friends of the Library.

(And there were a few perks. Hubster came along to "see what you really do" but I think he came because, as my guest, he got a free lunch.

There were 32 authors present. We tend to get wrapped up in our own genres, and forget that there are publishing genres for just about everyone. There were children's books, non-fiction books, niche market books, as well as the usual genre fiction.

I was interested in the panel on e-publishing. The takeaway there is that if you've got books published, the more formats you can offer them in, the better. But there IS a difference between books published in e-format by recognized publishers and indie, or self-publishing a book. As I'm sure I've said before, e-publishing should never be a shortcut. Make sure you've got a quality product, which requires investing time and usually money in good editing. Having your mother tell you your book is great is not a good reason to self-publish. But if you've got a good book, perhaps in a narrow niche market, where no publisher will take it because your target audience is too small, e-publishing offers you the opportunity to get it out there.

As for the 'showcase' side of the program.

If you're an author:

Follow the rules

Authors were told they had ONE MINUTE to promo themselves. This isn't much time, so it behooves you to have an idea of what points you want to make. The program director didn't use a stopwatch, so people weren't warned to keep it short, or cut off when their time was up.

If you've written 4 books, don't spend even 30 seconds telling what each is about and why you wrote it. That's two minutes right there.

It's really not fair to exploit the "rules." The result of those long-winded authors meant that the 'meet and greet' time was drastically shortened in order to keep the rest of the program on schedule.

(And maybe, if you're the one in charge, you should try to make sure these time constraints are met)

Don't preach.

Even if you're publishing books about a topic you strongly believe in, don't try to convert the audience in your allotted time. There's time for that when people come to your table.

Don't expect to sell a ton of books. Book signings and other events (unless you're a big name) don't really mean sales. They mean meeting people. And, at a library, most of the attendees are people who get their books from the library!

If you're an attendee:

Don't pretend the author isn't there if you aren't interested in their particular books. Smile. Stop to chat. Authors love meeting people. Don't think that you have to buy, especially in a room with 32 authors. They know their books won't be 'right' for everyone, and don't expect a purchase from everyone who stops by.

Tomorrow, my guest is Vonnie Davis, who's going to be sharing her take on POV, one of my favorite topics.

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Stacy Green said...

Thanks for sharing your tips, Terry. I hope to have a book signing one day, and these will be a big help. And good job with the Nook sales.

Pamela S Thibodeaux said...

Great advice Terry!

I miss author events and look forward to the few I have set up this year.

Good luck & God's Blessings Everyone!

Terry Odell said...

Stacy - the important thing is to have fun. And thanks!

Pamela - getting away from the isolation of writing is a great thing. Reminds us why we do what we do.

Jacqueline Seewald said...

Good, common sense advice for all who write.

Karen C said...

Congrats on the book sales!! Enjoyed the post. Sounds like common sense and courtesey for others to me.