This past Saturday, 3 May, was California Bookstore Day, an event celebrating what is an at risk institution: the independent bookstore. A bookstore in my area, Mysterious Galaxy, held a local authors’ “Meet and Greet” in recognition of the day, and about 20 authors, of whom I was one, were given space to show, sell, and sign their books for several hours. It was a great event and lots of fun both for the authors and the many readers who showed up to browse, chat, and (yes!) buy.
Especially interesting for the authors was the ability to network a bit among themselves, something we don’t often get to do in such an informal environment. There was lots of discussion of issues surrounding getting published, marketing, and the craft of writing. All in all, it was a great experience. And I did sell a few of each of my books.
I’ve previously written in this blog about the frustrations of finding a publisher, and there was much interest among the authors in our varied experiences with our publishers. Some folks seemed less than delighted, much as was I, with the publisher of my first book. Some appeared to be quite satisfied with the support they had received, but all of us, as independent, self-published writers, shared the frustration of not being able to break through into the big time, getting published by one of the major houses.
Of the several goals of this blog, one of the most important has been to chronicle my own, ongoing saga as a self-published author. As I move on from my positive experience at Mysterious Galaxy (my thanks to the staff there and, especially, to LeAnna!), I’ll keep reporting. I’m encouraged by the early reaction of readers to Zendoscopy but, as I’ve said before, the big problem for self-published authors is getting the word out. Word of mouth can be effective if the reader base spreading the word is large enough, but it generally isn’t for self-published writers. And marketing is expensive. We do what we can and hope for the best. In the meantime, we keep on writing, because the only thing worse would be not writing. So, if you’re an aspiring or fellow self-published author, keep watching the blog. And if you’re in tune with the other topics that also surface here, please hang in, as there’s more to come.
Today’s annoyance: The two browsers at the bookstore on Saturday who talked and talked and talked my ears off…and didn’t buy either of my books. (Fortunately, this was counterbalanced by one fellow who chatted with me for two minutes at most and then bought both books. Thanks, man. You made my day!)
Glad you enjoyed it Allan, so did I. As for the book browsers who didn’t buy, that comes with the territory. It happens all the time, but even if they didn’t buy anything, you might have made a positive impression on them that might make them future customers, or perhaps recommend you to friends. Or they might meet you at another event and become faithful followers. Tangible effects of these events are often not directly measurable.
Thanks for the comment, Kwei. You’re absolutely right. I was just struck by these two individuals, each of whom appeared both earnest and eager for engagement…until they abruptly walked away without so much as a good-bye. FYI, you might want to check out the “Today’s Annoyances” attached to most of my other postings. Cheers!