I've done a lot of bookstalls, written numerous articles, dispensed plenty of advice, and even given a few speeches about writing.
I've reached the point where I actually have people keep an eye out for me and my stall at events. It's thrilling and terrifying at the same time.
Now, I'm about to do my first solo author event.
My Dad and Step-mother live not far from this bookstore, and let me know that they frequently do Author events, especially for Authors who don't have the visibility of a publishing house behind them.
Around August, I reached out by email to arrange a date, preferably during the time when I'd be visiting for Christmas. That took some back and forth negotiating around the Seasonal Shutdown and my extremely fixed fly-in/fly-out dates, but we managed.
Next was sorting out the books themselves. Mysterious Galexy would take however many books I wanted to provide them on consignment for up to a month before the event. People could buy copies, and I'd sign them on the day. I paid $100 up-front as a booking/shelf-space fee, which would be refunded if I sold more than 10 copies in the month of December.
Then I had to choose which books I wanted to promote and talk about. At that point, I had three Jane Austen Variations in print, with a fourth due for release in November. Two were Fantasy Variations, the other two counted as Speculative Fiction, and it was a subject that I could confidently talk about for hours on end.
I ordered 15 copies of each book. It was more than I expected to sell, but I'd be taking any spares home with me, and it would save me the hassle of having to order new copies for my next bookstall. Maybe I'd even get lucky and sell most of them.
I co-ordinated with the manager about what would be involved, (a speech/presentation, Q&A, followed by a book signing) and started planning. Jane Austen Variations have the advantage of an inbuilt and very enthusiastic fandom, so there was a good chance I wouldn't end up talking to an empty room.
I also wouldn't be the only one promoting myself, either, which makes for a nice change.
Admittedly, the speech is still only about half-written, but finishing things at the last minute is a habit of mine. I know what I want to say, but anyone on this site will know the difference between having an idea and actually writing it down...
It's a little over a week before the event, the books have arrived, as have the business cards that I ordered for myself, in case the audience wants to read my Vocal short stories and non-Austen works.
I'm currently battling a bout of Imposter Syndrome, and trying to convince my Brain Weasels that I deserve the opportunity to take chances and try new things.
(It's a work in progress.)
I've always had terrible stage fright leading up to public speaking, only for my nerves to vanish once I open my mouth. Hopefully that trend continues.
On the bright side, if it turns into a complete flop, it's likely to be at least a year before I come back to San Diego, and hopefully everyone will have forgotten about it.
Most of my events take place in NSW, Australia, though I'm finally reaching the point where I may branch out to Supanova in other capitol cities.
If you want to know more about self-publishing, hosting bookstalls or promotional events, I'm available to chat through the Facebook link on my profile.
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