Readers are hungry for new talent, video has not eclipsed the written word, and there is room on the shelf for self-published authors who have a good story plus the sense to get their work professionally edited.
Those are some of my takeaways from BookExpo America, the industry’s just completed annual national convention. While traffic in New York was exasperating, traffic inside the Javits Center was exhilarating. The mood was upbeat, with crowds lined up each morning waiting to get in to meet authors and score free books.
I was camped with several other Indies on Writer’s Row. I invested roughly two grand for a small booth from which I told as many visitors as possible about my novels, Bella and the prequel, Bootlicker, (available Sept. 1).
Should you ever decide to go the trade show route, I suggest the following:
- Create a bookmark about your book with contact and buying info on the back.
- Make a poster from the cover, plus a second poster with a catchy blurb.
- Bring a laptop from which you can run your trailer or create a slide show.
- Enlist one or two personable helpers, and make sure they’ve read and can explain your book.
- Take lots of photos that you’ll be able to use later for blog posts. Shots of you signing books and chatting with readers are also valuable.
- Tweet live from the event as often as possible; try Viddy.com to create more engaging 15-second video tweets.
- Collect email addresses so you can follow up with new fans. This sometimes leads to signings and/or readings.
- Ask folks who accept your book to post a few review lines on Amazon.
Here are some great resources you might also want to check out:
- BookExpo videos are here, and free.
- Social media expert Cindy Ratzlaff makes her presentations available here.
As a self-publisher, I’m smiling a little as I look at my photos from the largest book industry trade show in North America. While some lanes are sill blocked, others – thanks to technology and slowly changing attitudes – are beginning to open. Success will ultimately hinge on the work. With discretionary leisure time so lacking in people’s busy lives, readers will not put up one second with weak characters, stories or writing. Deliver the goods, however, and your odds will soar.
Anyone else have thoughts about BEA or exhibiting at trade shows?