Thursday, August 4, 2016

To Appear or Not to Appear



Years ago, I had at least one book event scheduled every month, sometimes in-town, sometimes out-of- town, but it was commonplace for me to get out and about to meet my readers.

In my opinion, things have changed. Before, there was a pretty good budget allocated by my publisher(s) for tours. And what wasn't covered, I took care of, making sure to stay visible. And then budgets lessened, and authors pretty much took over the entire cost of their own tours. There were places to be, book stores ready to schedule authors, festivals to participate in, book club members to meet, and conferences to attend. And over time, a lot of authors found that sometimes, the turnout was not what it had been, yet the expense of traveling, along with the cost of signing tables, book seller splits, etc., remained.

Nowadays, though books cost less and authors are more abundant, I make sure that the appearances I do schedule allow for good opportunity to reach readers, and that the event planner is doing some sort of advertising and promotion, with the understanding that I, as an author, will promote as well. To be able to meet readers and mingle with fellow authors, can be some of the best experiences of an author's career. The feedback and camaraderie are invaluable, not to mention book club meetings, which are intimate and fun, sitting among readers in their homes or chatting over dinner in a restaurant. Priceless!

The big picture involves considering the cost of travel, whether or not the organizer is paying expenses, availability, and the timing factor. All are key. 

It is a fact that I don't book as many events as I did before. I mean things really have changed, mainly involving the popularity of ebooks (events and signings require print books). I understand that I'm not alone in this realization. While some authors do schedule event after event all year long, and some only schedule tours around book release dates (maybe a book launch party), I think the reason some have cut back is because there are so many other ways to reach out to readers. Social media, online radio, blogs, video chats, live posts on Facebook, Instagram, etc., and scheduled book webinar events, all cost little to nothing, and they don't require authors, or readers, to leave the comfort of their homes. And, you can buy inexpensive ads, like Facebook sponsored spots. But I'm not talking about advertising. I'm talking about promoting.

Have you found that you've been down-scaling your scheduled in-person appearances over the past few years? Do you think that getting out and staying visible helps to increase book sales, as opposed to online connections, or are you like a couple of my author friends who say they'd rather spend  that time writing, and so they pump out book after book, because in their opinions, readers would rather read us than meet us, lol. 

Bottom line is, for the rest of this year, and definitely into 2017, I'm going to try my best to schedule more ways to connect one-on-one with my readers. They're worth it, and their energy inspires me to keep writing. So readers, holla at your girl if you see me sitting at a table with a stack of books, pen in hand, reaching out to hand you a bookmark!! 

Oh, the many hats of being a author!

12 comments:

Chicki Brown said...

Marissa, I've been to two events where you participated, and you're very good at it!

I started out as an e-book only author, so I didn't have any paper books to sell. I had to learn how to connect with readers online, and what I discovered was fascinating.

Book chats, online book club visits, author takeovers, FB launch parties and other cyber get-togethers allowed me to meet readers and talk to them one-on-one. And the events are so much fun, and they work!

I have done some local in-person events to which I was invited, but I've never had a desire to set up my own.

Charles Gramlich said...

Such public appearances exhaust me and I stress out way too much over them.

Yolanda Gore said...

This is a great post. Love it. Thank you!

Antionette Gates said...

I love your blog.I understand now more about your struggle as authors versus 2013.Because of you and the Georgia Peaches my book club has improved our event. We love and appreciate the effort you put forth as an author to connect with your readers.

Liane Spicer said...

Marissa, sounds like you're really good at this. I have actively avoided the kinds of events you mentioned. I'm like Charles--stress and exhaustion are all I see when I think of doing this kind of promoting.

It works for you and you enjoy it though, so I'd say go girl! If I wasn't a couple thousand miles away I'd make a point of attending at least some of your events.

Jewel Amethyst said...

I feel like I'm participating in more author events than originally and getting less of a payout than before. Right now I have to regroup and consider whether an author event that doesn't make me back in revenue the cost of attending the event is worth it. I've been to too many crammed with authors who just purchase each other's books. I've been to some where I purchase more books from other authors than I sell. I have to really evaluate the utility of each event.

Marissa Monteilh said...

Chicki, you are too kind. And yes, events can be fun, and worthwhile. Thx!!

Marissa Monteilh said...

Charles, lol, there can be some anxiety beforehand, and a lot of time invested - I hear ya!

Marissa Monteilh said...

Thanks, Yolanda, for your comment. I know you're writing, right? (wink)

Marissa Monteilh said...

Antionette, aww, we love and appreciate you so! You are a true gem!!!

Marissa Monteilh said...

Liane, I know. You did great on the radio, and you're so talented. Maybe one day we'll do an event together. Thx!!

Marissa Monteilh said...

Jewel, yes, all of that has happened. It really is something to think about. At first I would always say yes, now I think it through in detail. Thx for your comment!!