Posts Tagged ‘book signing’

MileHiCon Prep and Nerves

My sister gave me chocolate for my birthday, which is both a blessing and a curse.

We’re about a week out from MileHiCon, squiders, which is a scifi/fantasy literary convention that I like to make the rounds at each year. You’ve probably heard me talk about it before. For a few years I had a table in the author’s row for Turtleduck Press, which ended up not being much fun (stuck at table, terrible habit of comparing sales to other presses/authors, etc.) so last year I struck out on my own, which is the plan again this year.

But I still feel a little weird about. I mean, I had a MUCH better time last year and I don’t regret abandoning the author’s row. But I haven’t really done much since last year. I’ve had some short stories published in zines, anthologies, and websites, but nothing too major, and nothing I’ve had any sort of ownership over. Sure, next year is looking better–a Fractured World anthology and the sequel to City of Hope and Ruin, as well as some other potential projects–but this year is pretty sparse.

So it feels weird to be doing something that is essentially marketing while having nothing to market. I mean, there’s still reasons to go–networking, to see people I like, to have fun, books, etc. (To stare longingly at the things in the art show I can’t afford. To buy awesome book-themed tea.) But I feel less relevant than normal.

(Also, reminder to self, file permits with state/city so I can sell books.)

Still, though–I’m on two panels, both editing related, and have a time at the authors’ signing table. And they offered me a comped pass for the weekend, which has never happened before. So that feels lovely. And my mom found me a proper book display so that will also be helpful for signing/selling. All in all, if I can get over the weirdness, it should be a good weekend.

(Things to do, because I honestly just realized we were a week away:

-File permits
-Organize stock/credit card reader/mailing list sign-up/business cards
-If, when panel details come out, I need to prep, prep)

Any thoughts on conventioning when there’s nothing to market, squiders? As a reader, what draws you to panelists/authors at conventions you attend?

Local Author Showcase Afterthoughts

So, I know we were going to do Foundation today, but I’m delaying that because when I was looking for information last week, I found a fat lot of nothing, and there are probably other authors out there with similar question.

So, on Saturday, I participated in a Local Author Showcase hosted by my local library district. There were four of us, and we were each offered ten minutes to talk, and after the talking, there would be a book sale and signing. It was my first time doing any sort of author talk, and so I took to the internet for advice.

Author Showcase


If I were selling some sort of motivational book, there’s resources for that. If I was just sitting behind a table while people browsed, resources for that too. But there wasn’t anything I could find for when you were one of a set of authors and had only a few minutes to yourself.

So, in the interest of helping my fellow authors, here’s how I spent my ten minutes:

  • Short introduction of myself
  • Short introduction of Shards (genre, publisher, publication date)
  • Short Shards synopsis
  • Intro for reading
  • Reading (Beginning of chapter 5, for curious people)
  • Short note of interesting things about Shards (mostly mythology related)
  • Wrap-up
  • Questions

The majority of the time was spent on the reading (which took about 5 minutes). The other authors had similar set-ups, though they varied a bit. (For example, the nonfiction author talked a bit about where he got his materials, and the historical fiction author talked about why she had chosen that particular time period.)

The audience was fairly engaged, which is to be expected, I would think, of people who are willing to spend their Saturday afternoon listening to authors talk, and they asked a lot of questions, such as things like inspirational books and movies, writing process, submissions and querying, and why the author picked the viewpoint they did.

I practiced both the reading and the non-reading parts before hand, and printed out a sheet of notes to help keep me on track. It was basically a list of bullet points, with some being more explicit than others (for example, my intro essentially said “intro” whereas I wrote my summary out word for word.)

For the sale and booksigning, I brought a couple of nice pens (I sell autographed copies through the website, so I already have special booksigning pens), a bit of cardstock to make sure the pen didn’t bleed through the title page, and a display stand. I also set up a credit card reader on my phone (through my Paypal account) and programmed in the price of the book. About half of the people paid with cash, but the others seemed pleased to have the credit card option.

Plus I had Shards bookmarks, and business cards for both my writing and my editing business.

Overall, it went quite well, and our librarians were so excited about the whole thing, and very enthusiastic about the books. Plus, Shards was sitting front and center in the new book section.

Shards at the library

 So hopefully that’s useful to someone. The library showcase was a good first talking experience–people who were interested and excited, not a huge amount of people, and good exposure to people who write other genres. If your local library offers one, I recommend participating.