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3 Things Authors Should Do Before Attending a Book Fair or Writers Conference

3 Things Authors Should Do Before Attending a Book Fair or Writers Conference

So, you’ve published a book and you are ready to let everyone see the fruits of your labor. Maybe someone contacted you, or maybe you just read about an event and you are trying to decide if you should go or not. Whether you are self-published or traditionally published, you are probably footing the cost of this venture on your own and therefore need to consider the pros and cons with a business mind.

Putting aside your personal excitement and friendships, does it really benefit you to put your money into this event? Is there a reasonable gain, either in sales or connections, that you will enjoy when it’s all over? Here are three things every author should do before attending an event that will help you make the right decision and make the most of any event:

1. Evaluate

  • Event Presence. How are they marketing the event? Do they have an official website? Is this their first event? Can you reasonably expect a crowd of 100 or more?
  • Event Schedule. Will it provide industry information you need? Is there opportunity to gain exposure for you and your work? What are the benefits of attending, beyond potential sales?
  • Event Budget. Consider your travel, housing and potential printing fees: Is it cost-effective? Are you required to pay both a registration and a vendor fee?
  • Additional Event Opportunities. Are you able to set up additional events, such as a book signing, a book club event, or a speaking engagement while in the city?

2. Prepare

  • Order copies of your book(s). Make sure you have about 30-50 books to take with you
  • Book any tickets or hotel rooms needed in advance, or as soon as you decide to go. If possible, stay at or within a mile of the event venue. Note that if there is no place to stay close by, you may want to rethink attending.
  • Print marketing collateral. Bookmarks are good, but even better you should have your book and author information on postcard size handouts. These are big enough to contain relevant information and not get lost, and small enough to not be cumbersome for attendees to hold on to. Make sure you have business cards as well, some people may want to connect with you post-event.

3. Promote

  • Let your fans know you are attending! Post it on social media and on your website. Include it in your newsletter if you have one.
  • Run a contest for potential attendees. You can offer a free book or giveaway a relevant item to the first five people to visit your booth/ table
  • Live tweet the event. If you have a twitter account, this is a great way to get people interested in visiting you. Use a hashtag associated with the event, or if there isn’t one create your own! Talk about what’s going on and remind attendees about any other campaigns you are running for attendees. For non-attendees, you can offer something as well for orders placed during the event.

These are just a few things to consider, but hopefully you have been given a few ideas on how to determine whether you should attend an event or not, especially ones that are outside of your local area.

Do you have any other criteria for evaluating potential events? Add them in the comments below!

RCarter-Event

Rochelle Carter is the CEO/ Publisher at Ellechor Media LLC, a company with three publishing imprints and a bookstore. She is the author of The 7-Step Guide To AuthorpreneurshipWrite Success: Inspirational Quotes For The Authorpreneur, and Becoming An Author: Your Quick Start Guide to a Successful Book Launch, three books she put together to help educate and motivate authors based on her experiences with publishing and her own authors.

 

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Authorpreneurship Unleashed, Part 1: How I Became An Entrepreneur

Some writers lead with the product, a manuscript or two, that they decide to monetize by finding or hiring a publisher. They may or may not plan for the extensive work to follow, but to stay in any industry one must either dig deep or go home.

I have always been an avid reader and a writer, but when I considered life in publishing after reading a particularly terrible book, I decided to monetize my skills as a Publisher instead. While I loved writing, reading, and learning about authorship, I was much more confident in my organization and project management skills. As an Entrepreneur, I quickly determined that my first priority was to “do publishing right”, whatever that meant. I found my team of professionals, put together our business plan, created an awesome website and we found our first authors. I was ready to go, and this was the perfect timing because my life was stable enough to support a business… or so I thought!

We waited a year before starting to release any books, hoping to get a good head start on the process, vet the appropriate processes and contractors, and have time to edit, re-edit and proof everything. The best laid plans don’t factor in real life. I ended up with severe pre-eclampsia in the hospital just six months into my first pregnancy and four months before our first three books launched. This was where having a reliable Super Group paid off. With me out of commission, my team carried on to launch our first books and manage our preparation for the next season of book releases. I was now officially and Entrepreneur with products available to the public!

Going through the early years of the business had its ups and downs, but in the end to me it paid off. I learned a lot, continue to learn, and am always seeking ways to share with others. As my author list grew, however, I quickly discovered that authors did not just need their books published. While that is their goal, the true necessary tool for EVERY author is knowledge. Knowledge about the publishing process, the industry, and how to navigate those confusing waters.

Stay tuned for Part 2 on How I Became An Author

Your Chance to Win: Tell me your story! How did you become an author or entrepreneur? What were those early years like? Those who comment will automatically be entered into a drawing to win a copy of my upcoming release, The 7-Step Guide To Authorpreneurship. Endorsed by bestselling authors and industry professionals, this guide is essential to every author.

 

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The Authorpreneur and the “Amateur” Book Reviewer/ Blogger

Much has changed in the old fortress of publishing over the past twenty years (since the rise of the Internet and self-publishing).

However, the biggest change we’ve seen in publishing isn’t the rise of eBooks, the evolution of self-publishing, or Amazon’s domination over traditional booksellers. It’s the fact that–regardless of where or how an author is published–the author has really become the book’s most reliable sales rep, marketing manager, publicity department, etc. Publishing nowadays requires AUTHORS to be the product, and the book sells based on how well the author performs. Every author needs to be active in both grassroots and large-scale marketing campaigns. 

Goodreads.com is one of the most popular contemporary social media sites, and it’s centered solely around the amateur reviewer. The value of Amazon customer reviews is enormous nowadays, not only to convince readers to pick up the book but to secure other publicity and notice.

On that note, “amateur” review bloggers (I say amateur, but these professional bloggers are really anything but amateur!) are getting more and more attention and respect among individual readers, booksellers, and industry professionals and publications. The best part is that most of them are responding to the fact that most authors are their own sales reps, marketing managers, and publicity departments, so the need for an “official” publicist isn’t exactly necessary for securing high-profile reviews from successful self-made book reviewers. Below is a list of the best “amateur” review bloggers we know of! If you’re a reader, check them out to find out what’s new. If you’re an author, drop them a line!

1) Bookslut

2) Becky’s Book Reviews

3) books i done read

4) Birdbrain(ed) Book Blog

5) The New Book Review

6) A Book and a Review

7) Shelf Love

8) Bibliophile Stalker

9) The Book Nest

10) The Overweight Bookshelf

11) A Geek At Heart

12) Reading for Sanity

13) Books on the Knob

14) The Book Smugglers

15) The Literary Saloon

16) Omnivoracious

17) The Bookshop Blog

18) Read React Review

19) Bookroom Reviews

20) Booking Mama

 

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The Self-Publishing Stigma: Do We Deserve It?

Publishing is on the cusp of the indie-publishing revolution. There are lots of reasons to be down on traditional publishing that self-publishing authors love to expound on, but the authorpreneur needs to clearly see the self-publishing practices that have caused the “stigma” that “elitist” publishing folks turn their noses up at. It;s the only way for you to DO BETTER and put these stigmas to rest!

It’s time to stop whining about the stigma and DO SOMETHING about it. I could write a list of all the mistakes I’ve seen in self-publishing (from an unknown author putting his/her face on the front cover to refusing to listen to Stephen King’s advice about the craft in his book On Writing). However, that would take twelve days. The number one, biggest mistake in self-publishing today doesn’t have to do with the cover design or the marketing. The biggest mistake in self-publishing today is: Publishing before the book is ready!

I know–this sounds oh-so simple. But the truth is that most brand-new authors truly don’t know what it takes to make a self-published book successful. Heck, many “veteran” self-published authors don’t know what it takes, either–they’re often the ones who created the often well-deserved self-publishing stigma.

Writing 60,000 words is easy. Did you just hear that symphony of gasps and indignant rebuttals from authors around the globe? Yes, I said it–writing 60,000 words IS EASY. It takes time, but that doesn’t make the act itself difficult. What is difficult is doing it well. Yes, some people are just truly more talented at writing than others. Does this mean that writing is not a learned skill that is improved by greater understanding and practice? No. It’s like any other art form: talent can only take you so far, and then training comes in to refine the talent.

If authors don’t take the time to read books on the craft, take writing classes, learn the rules, get critiques, read other books in the genre, take the time to research the genre’s audience, write multiple drafts and rewrite scenes and sequences multiple times, etc. (I could go on, and on, and on…), the book will NOT be ready to publish. It won’t even be ready for the editor. Unfortunately, this has not stopped many books from being self-published before they’re ready for the marketplace, thus exacerbating and supporting the stigma self-publishing is fighting.

Self-publishing poorly is just too easy nowadays. There are too many publish-instantly-for-free buttons out there that keep duping would-be successful self-published authors into just “getting it out there,” preventing them from ever having success and inflaming the already red and itchy rash that is the self-publishing stigma. The answer is to STOP FALLING FOR IT.

Self-publishing is not a get-out-of-jail-free card. It should not be easier simply because you don’t have to go through agents or traditional publishers. It has the potential to be very rewarding–I would argue that it has the potential to be even more rewarding than traditional publishing. That is if it’s done right and well.

It’s time for self-publishing authors to quit jumping the gun. It’s time to put in the time, energy, and money (remember–time IS money, and it takes LOTS AND LOTS of TIME to make it right) to publish the right way. It’s time to take some responsibility–let’s stop the practices that make self-publishing deserving of the stigma. The success of the indie-author revolution depends on it!

Many self-publishers, like EverFaith Press, provide free consultations and manuscript assessments that can help you not only determine if your book is ready, but if not how to get it ready. You should also check out The 7-Step Guide to Authorpreneurship. Order from Christian Books Today and get a free copy of Write Success: Inspirational Quotes For The Authorpreneur!

 

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