Hiddey-Ho Scribblers! J Monkeys here, back from sabbatical for just a quick moment. I’m doing an Author Event this weekend with a bunch of buddies and I wanted to take a mo to talk about it.
These days, authors seem to be doing as much promo as a Kardashian hawkin’ an adult film. It used to be (at least we dreamed of an author life where…) you wrote a good book, got it published and then the world bought it. Occasionally you’d do a book signing where your fans lined up around the building hours in advance. Of course, someone else did all the grunt work of planning it and paid for you to travel in first class. Hmm. Haven’t had that happen yet!
Nowadays, authors got do the promo thang, no matter if you’re traditionally published, going digital press or indie pub’d. And for the most part, you are on your own to make it happen. Unless you hire yourself a publicist…out of your own pocket, of course. Which many folks do. See my sister scribe Jennifer Fusco’s Market or Die site for details on their fine services.
I’ve tried a few different things with hit or miss success. My books are for middle grade kids and emerging readers. These are not folks with disposable income or e-readers or even much buying power. These are kids. Maybe age 5-12. They certainly can influence the adults in their lives to make purchases for them, but they can’t do it independently.
I’ve tried a couple of blog tours – not big successes for me, but possibly because I wasn’t blogging with other children’s authors, necessarily, and didn’t hit the target audience.
I’ve done a holiday fair at the local mall. That was surprisingly lousy, but then it was November 2011, height of the recession and all of the vendors at that fair complained that they’d never done so poorly, so maybe it wasn’t me.
Guest author visits at schools are great, but tough gigs to get.
I’ve done a number of craft fairs. About 1/2 the time, I’ve made back the cost of the fair, but of course, that’s not the only measure of success. That’s an important thing to remember but tough to do when you are running a business on a shoestring. Being an author is a strange business. You’ve got to continually get out there, get your brand out there, connect with people. Your sales can be very long tail. You never know when someone might think to themselves, “Hey. I need a new book...who was that lady I met at that thing way back when? She had a cute monkey as her logo…Oh yeah. J Monkeys. Lemme Google her.”
Today’s secret: When you are considering doing any kind of author event, don’t limit your definition of success to immediate financial gratification. Remember this business is a marathon, not a sprint.
And, if you’re looking for a good book – I’ll be at the Enfield CT 4th of July Celebration (July 6-7) with 20 other authors in a gigantic, local local author party. Come on down!