I had an interesting experience this weekend. For the first time ever, I sold my books at a con.
And it was a really great experience.
Not perfect by any means, but well worth doing and something I think every author should do at least once.
Well, for starters, I was able to see how people buy books and what attracts their attention. Lately I’ve been thinking the cover of Erelia needed changed. I did it myself and it’s pretty basic and I wasn’t sure it really conveyed its genre or that anyone would be attracted to it.
Imagine my surprise when people tended to pick up that book and read the back about twice as often if not more than they picked up the book I spent a fortune on. Now, granted, it wasn’t really a fantasy-oriented conference, so that might be part of it, but still. It gave me more confidence in the Erelia cover than I’d had going in.
I also met a number of great people I would’ve never met otherwise. (I had one disturbing conversation in the mix, but overall it was wonderful to meet and talk to so many new people.) And I think I may have even made some long-term connections even though that wasn’t my focus this weekend.
Watching what people bought and how they bought it was also very interesting. One of my non-fiction books is very snarky and really meant for a certain type of limited audience. But the people who bought that book tended to just look at the cover, read the blurb, and then buy and they weren’t the ones I’d say are the target audience for that book.
With almost everything we sold this weekend that was how it happened. (I had a partner in crime I was sharing the table with.) They’d pick up the book, maybe read the back, talk to us a bit, and buy. Which is really fascinating if you think about it. That no one seemed to care how well-written the books were.
Which I guess emphasizes the value of a strong cover and blurb…Although I think long-term you have to back that promise up with delivering a strong story.
It wasn’t easy trying to sell people on our books. It’s an awkward thing to say, “hey, buy my book.” And even more awkward when someone picks up your book, makes a face, and then walks away. But it was worth it I think. And I’ll definitely do it again.
I better. I still have LOTS of books left from this go round. And it’s either that or my friends and family are going to get some really strange Christmas gifts this year.