My view from the edge
As a lot of you know, I am pretty friendly with a lot of authors and most of them are having the same issues concerning traveling to book events, and book signing events. Just in case you don’t know most of these expenses come directly out of the author’s pockets, not the publishers. And if by chance the publishers do send an author, they want results….BOOKS SOLD… preferably ..SOLD OUT!
I read a Face Book post from author and publisher Zane, that posed a question
So I received some feedback regarding the Baltimore Book Festival. While some people are purchasing hard copy books, the majority are asking if they are available on Kindle or saying that they already have them on Kindle. That begs the question: should book fairs stop being held as well because people have no interest in hard copy books and/or having authors sign them? Is there any point in authors still going on tour? This has seriously made me reevaluate doing future tours/signings. If I don’t sell enough books to cover the expenses, my publisher would be losing money.
Do not get me wrong. Most authors love the opportunity to be able to meet with current readers and to be discovered by potential readers. However, if they cannot afford to make that happen because they are not making enough to cover the expenses, where does that leave them? And no, I am not whining in regards to myself. I have not had a signing where a lot of books were not sold, but I have dozens of authors that I have to look out for. There are no Big I’s and Little U’s in this world so my concern is for the industry as a whole
I can see her point. When I’ve attended events and festivals this year, I saw people buying the books BUT in Eversion. Yes books were sold but the hard copies weren’t as much. I can also see the readers point of convenience.
I don’t own a ereader. I do consider getting one only because my home is literary filled with books I would never even think of getting rid of. My kids are saying they live in a library, and my reply is “well there are worse places you could live, and as soon as you move out I’m turning your bedroom your into a library”!
I still want to meet authors and have my BOOKS signed. Even if I had a Ereader I still want to meet the authors. I’m pretty sure I’m not alone when I say…..
Please don’t stop touring, signing and attending festival and events.
I got to hang out with Monique Mensah at The National Book Club Conference and yes they came to her table and bought her ebooks right there but she was also booking book club visits, doing sales trough her phone and selling hard copies.
So… as I was pondering these authors dilemma’s, I came up with a few ideas I think may help. Some of these tips come from traveling with my co-workers. We love to travel to hair shows and these tips help us save money on expenses. The suggestions have been adjusted to authors instead of hair shows.
Travel with a fellow author, in pairs or groups.
1 Traveling with another person or a group cuts the price of a hotel room.
You can just split the cost of the room by how many you are sharing with.
2 Ask for a business rate when booking the room. You can even get a suite for
the same price as a regular room. Don’t forget to ask for double beds.
3 Also in most hotel rooms that big comfy chair lets out to a twin bed and
the couch is a sleeper sofa!
4 Make sure to ask if the have a shuttle bus from the airport to the hotel.
If not and the hotel next door to them has one, take it.
This also helps with the prices of booths and tables at book festivals and events Some can run has high as $700.00 or more. Split that fee too. Most booths are large enough that you can share the with many people, which puts more money in your pocket. A table can fit 2 authors.
Let your fan base know your coming. With all of the new changes on Face Book, you can do groups by city and post to only those fans in those cities. One pet peeve of mine is getting invites to signings no where near where I live. Using all your social networks can bring people out that would not otherwise know you’re in their area. Also post an itinerary on your site, blog, and fan pages, far enough in advance for those who may want to travel to see you.
Ship your books ahead to the hotel or a friend in the area. Airlines have totally lost their minds with fees charged for a bag that’s over weight by even a pound. Arrange for pickup and shipped back to you, hopefully you won’t need it and can cancel the pick up.
When going to an event find out which bookstores and book clubs are in the area that you can connect with while you’re there.
Fly business class, if you book a flight early enough you can get this for the same price as coach. Sign up for air miles. Building up points can add up to a free flight. Save points for long distance travel, like California from the east coast or visa versa.
Do a signing at the airport book stores, arrange ahead of time
Sign at Walmart’s, Targets and hair salons in the areas you’re visiting, it can be arranged or impromptu.
While on a family vacation, line up places you can spend a few hours.
If you are going to a book club meeting, they may be able to put you up for the night. Book clubbers are aware of the struggles of authors and are very willing to help and assist in any way they can. They will also feed you a good home cooked meal! Make sure to send a thank you gift for their kindness.
One thing I could never understand is if you come to New York aka Manhattan, why not do Queens, Brooklyn, The Bronx , Staten Island and New Jersey???? The surrounding areas are only a train ride away. Get a Metro Pass and plan it out so you know which buses and trains to take.
Same with Florida. It never ceases to amaze me that authors will come to Jacksonville and not do Orlando, Fort Lauderdale and Miami One word…Amtrak, ok 2 Greyhound.
Better yet rent a car they have really great rates during the week.
And refer back to your networks to make your travel plans worth it.
If you are on the road, sell other books besides your own and ask the other authors to do the same for you. It’s like you being in 2 places at one time. autograph the books to up the value. This also helps with shipping costs.And extra money for both authors.
Since readers are buying Eversions, have your Amazon Associates set up so you still get paid. Let them buy from your laptop or your store.
Also offer a Kindlegraph as a perk for those downloading your book on site.
Let the post office travel for you, if you can’t be at certain events; send your marketing materials for placement in swag bags. This is another way of you being in several places at one time.
Wear your tee-shirt when traveling, read your own book, pass out bookmarks and post cards, you never know who you may run into. You could be sitting next to “Your Biggest Fan” or a bookstore owner.
Take lots of pictures and blog about your adventure. People wish they could travel and will live vicariously through you. They will also make an effort to catch with you on your next road trip.
There are authors services that do all of the planning and arrangements for you, but with planning you can do it yourself
If your would like to add any suggestions, please do. I’m sure the authors and publishers would appreciate the feedback.