Last week was my first official solo author event at a bookshop (or anywhere really). It was a fairly fine day; sun was shining enough to take the edge off the breezy winter’s day and there was not a skerrick of rain anywhere to be seen. The basis for a great day spent outside with a table full of books!
I preceded the event with a raft of posts on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. I even forked out money toward a paid Facebook advert and printing of posters and cards to hand out. The end result was exactly as I expected.
That is not to say, I sat alone and unloved in a huddle with just my books for company. I definitely did not. I enjoyed the opportunity to chat to a couple of people I didn’t know, a handful of people I did know, and practiced speaking about myself, about writing, and about publishing.
And need the practice; I do (sorry, Yoda moment). I also really appreciated the support of my family and friends who plied me with coffee, snacks, space, conversation, and bodies at the table looking interested.
I sold four books in two hours. If you take off the number of books purchased by friends who were going to buy it anyway, but waited until the book signing in order to show support – I was left with one book sale to a total stranger. But that total stranger looked really happy to have bought the book and met the author.
The point of this post is not to bemoan low book sales, but to share a few key points with other authors in a similar position.
We need every little bit of practice we can get when it comes to polishing our public persona and ability to speak
Every pebble we drop in the ocean of public awareness counts. Eventually, we will have a whole ripple to ourselves, and then a wave, and finally, the tide will come in!
Think long tail not short. To make any sort of living from our craft we need longevity and a decent back list of publications for new readers to buy
Don’t give up. We are at the start of the public side of our writing careers (changes to copyright laws and removal of parallel importation restrictions aside). All successful writers have had to slog it out trying to sell themselves and their work at some point.
See you there!