In the spring of 2017 I stopped doing book events cold turkey. Registering for these catch-all events, where you’re next to a woman who sells handmade jewelry or down the hall from someone who is selling purses, was too much for me. As a vendor, I didn’t feel as though my table was “special” and as a consumer, I would have been completely overwhelmed. After each event I began to feel like I had completely wasted, not only my money but my time so I stopped attending.
A few months ago, I got an email from a library who asked me to come and speak at their annual meeting. I’d get a chance to talk about my books, explain my inspiration behind writing them, and what I was truly passionate about. After the meeting ended, I got to really connect with the audience. I met new people, exchanged business cards, and even made a few new Facebook friends. While I was packing up, I realized I was only a few books away from selling out without even trying! It got me thinking: I need to go where I’m wanted.
I had a great time speaking about my books. There was no pressure to sell someone on it. I was pretty confident that I’d get a sale or two, but I definitely didn’t think I’d get close to selling out. It made me realize that it wasn’t me. It was what I was choosing.
From now on I’m choosing small-scaled events that allow people to get to know me and my work and not feel like I’m just another vendor trying pushing a product. I owe it to my work to be more exclusive.
This post is not to knock those big events because I’m sure that there are some people who do very well selling books. Unfortunately, that hasn’t been my experience. One could argue that publishing books is a business and I agree 100% with that. But, my journey to becoming the best author I can be is mine, and mine alone. Do what works for you, and I’ll do what works for me.
If you’re someone like me who has had these experiences, my advice is to do what feels comfortable for you. As for me, I choose to go where I’m wanted instead of being another face in the place.
Authors, writers, poets: what has been your experience?