Friday, April 12, 2013

Bookfest! Expos! Trade Shows...And More to Explore

Just a few years ago I had my first book signing at a Book Expo. The African American Book Expo had tons of authors, and vendors selling their products. Since that was my first stop in a full year of book promotions, I added this to my experimental list of things to do.

I researched the trade shows I would attend by searching other authors that had similar work as I did. However, I did the African American Book Expo in MD simply because it was the first time they’d had one and I could share a table with another author, Maggie Mei Lewis, that I respected. I also signed up for the Capital Bookfest, because it was close to my hometown and I liked some of the other authors that were attending. The Baltimore Book Festival, I’m attending because it’s free to Maryland Writer’s Association members. They were local, I planned to network with other authors there and meet readers that were part of my audience.

The reason I go to these events (Book Expos) is truly not to sell books, it’s for networking. If you go to these events hoping to sell a ton a books – you will be disappointed.

When you are seeking out the promotional opportunities for your writing career (you can also do this when you are even unpublished) set your goals, research the venue and what other’s have gotten out of the endeavor and plan in opportunities that will get you the exposure you desire. I did this by doing a Google alert on authors that were new, and doing things that I wanted to do with my career. Then I fashioned the events that fit within my budget and goals for my own career.

Always reinvent yourself and your promotional goals. Some events I’ve participated in were the wrong venue, didn’t meet my ‘realistic’ expectations or were too costly compared to the benefits. So I revamped my plans for the next year to fit my budget, highlight the things that worked, and I always add something new for discovery of better ways to promote myself and my books.

Be realistic when pursuing promotion of your books. It takes 3 years for any business to confirm growth, so set a 3-year plan/investment in yourself and your promotional goals. Gage your growth each year with a chart and if you see improvement, pat yourself on the back and research ways to further improve.

by LM Preston,

1 comment:

  1. Great post! I couldn't agree more that expos are great for networking but not for selling books. I also reevaluate which events to attend each year, but I think it's good you pointed it out because I know a lot of people that attend the same events year in and year out and don't even reap the networking benefits anymore.