Monday, June 20, 2011

On The Business of Writing - Author Readings

My co-blogger Cheryl Anne Gardner writes here often about the craft of writing. I'd like to talk a bit about the business of writing. First, a little background.

I am a self-published author. My first novel, The Mars Run, came out in 2006. Since then, for various reasons I decided to try and go the traditional route. I've had some success at that, and my new novel Pirates of Mars will be coming out by Hadley Rille Books in November, 2011. Coming from the self-published background, I've been working on marketing the new book, and this past weekend attended Duckon, a local science fiction convention.

At this convention, another, much more well-known author and myself were scheduled for a reading. Only one person came, for the other author, who decided to go back to his booth in the dealer's room. So no reading. I then attended a session put on by the leader of the Literary Underworld, and she had several tips to pass on to me:

1) Authors must promote their readings themselves! Even if you have a "captive" audience, like at a convention of science fiction readers, you have to tell them what you're reading.

2) Bribes are helpful. Consider a "reading with chocolate" or other munchie.

3) Murphy is alive and well. At this particular convention, figuring out what room each event was in proved challenging. So, don't put the room number on your flyers until you get to the event and confirm the location. If, as is typical in these events, your assigned room is off in Lower Slobovia, you may need to add directions to the room.

4) If the book is already out, be prepared to sell books at the reading. If not, have a marketing giveaway for people to take with.

5) ETA: Here's another thought about author readings: signing and dating the typescript and leaving it behind for whoever wants it. It doesn't draw more people to the reading, but it is a nice giveaway that costs nothing and makes somebody happy.

I write because I want to tell stories. Storytelling requires an audience, and I need to tell a story to my audience about why they should listen.

1 comment:

David said...

It's also important to attend other people's readings. Chat them up afterwards and mention your writing. "Oh, and did I mention I'm doing a reading?"

Some 'cons have a culture that emphasize writers and readings are part of that. Sometimes you have to do more work to get there.