Welcome to Following the Whispers blog

Thank you so much for taking the time to visit. Hope you enjoy your stay. I blog here whenever I feel the need. This blog was created at the time my memoir came out, in February, 2009. Its motto was: creating a life of inner peace and self-acceptance from the depths of despair. Now, my focus is sharing this journey we call life.

“Only one thing is more frightening than speaking your truth, and that is not speaking it.” Naomi Wolf

“We are called human beings, not human doings.” Wes Nisker, Buddhist teacher

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs…(And) if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.” Theodore Roosevelt

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Book Events

I signed up to participate in a day-long book and craft fair this coming Saturday. I am dreading it. Thinking about backing out. 100+ authors and crafts people purchased booth space (I purchased a half table) to benefit ReadWest, a literacy program in a suburb of Albuquerque. The cause is great. But is it worth my time to sit from 9 am to 4 pm and hope someone stops by the table and buys a book?

I've spoke with other local authors about this. Some only do events where they are the only author, such as book signings. Others do everything they can to put themselves out there.
I've only done one booksigning. It was at the launch of my memoir, back in February. And it was mostly friends and family who attended and purchased books. Since then, all sales have occurred from either bookstores or online.

Recently, I made a decision to focus on giving talks about issues raised in the memoir. I have the first one scheduled for December 5 at a local metaphysical bookstore. It is called "Tuning in to Intuition--a practical approach." I have no idea if anyone will sign up to attend or whether they will purchase my book even if they do come. But it feels organic to me to do this kind of thing. In this way, I am sharing me, sharing my story, sharing insights I've learned from hardcore life lessons.

Luckily, it was never my intention or expectation to sells thousands of books. Being self-published, that just isn't a realistic goal. So my motto has been, "one book at a time."

Whether you are a writer or a reader, if you read these posts, what are your thoughts about book events? As a writer, do you find them beneficial? As a reader, do you actually purchase books at these things?

Till tomorrow,


The Old Silly said...

Never done a "book event" with lots of other authors. I'd advise you to go ahead and do it though, just for the experience and to see for yourself if nothing else. Book signings where you are the only author and book on display surely will net you more sales, but any exposure is good and an even like that sounds like it would have networking opportunites as well.

Marvin D Wilson

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

I *completely* understand how you feel.

At bookstores, I do try to greet people as they go by and hand them a bookmark or other freebie.

At an event like the one you describe, I'm pretty sure I'd be writing on my omni-present index cards and working while I sat there. But then, that might be good--sometimes people are reticent to come up if they see you watching them. And if someone starts hovering around, you can smile and give them a bookmark...

Mystery Writing is Murder

Unknown said...

I do buy books at the kind of events you refer to, Karen. But it was when I read about your upcoming "talk" that I thought, "YES!"

Although I've never attended something like that, I would love to, and given the opportunity I would definitely go. To hear about the book and the experiences shared in the book by the author herself (or himself) is so personal. There would be an added element and feeling of "connecting," and a deeper and more intimate insight into the person behind the book.

Best of luck with both events! I'm looking forward to hearing about your experiences with them.

Cyndi said...

As a reader (and a shopper) I would absolutely buy books at a fair like this. In fact, I would be more likely to attend if I knew there were authors with books there in addition to the craft booths. I love craft shows anyway so the addition of books would be a huge plus for me.

Joanne said...

As a writer, I'd love to participate in something like this. What a great avenue for dialogue with other writers and readers, and it also serves to give even more authenticity to your book and work. The December talk sounds even more intriguing, from a writer viewpoint, because you can outline out the entire talk and use tools to supplement your presentation, and engage the audience too. Oh best wishes on both. If I weren't across the country, I'd definitely bring along an extra coffee and visit you Saturday!

Anonymous said...

I love book events. I love talking to people, especially aout the material in my book such as breakthroughs in physics. I wish I could do more during the holidays but many book stores are not scheduling events until after the first of the year.

Stephen Tremp

Helen Ginger said...

Since you've already paid for half a table, I say go ahead and do the event. If nothing else, it'll give you more of a base to judge similar events. I think I would be more likely to buy a book from an author where I had heard him or her speak.

Straight From Hel

Tamika: said...

As an author, I think it would be a great marketing tool. As a reader, yes I would purchase the book. Especially because I invested my time to be there.

Jen Chandler said...

We have a book festival once a year near where I live. Many authors come out as well as craftsmen. It's a joy to see so many authors championing their work. If you've already signed up, I say do it! I did a craft fair one year. I didn't make a fortune from it, but it was a good experience and I'm very glad I went ahead with it. It helped me fine tune my "what do you do" speech and not be so nervous when people want to about my art. Now if I could just get that way about my books! Best of luck to you!


Elspeth Futcher said...

I say go for it. It's a new experience and that's never a bad thing. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised. Best wishes!


Anonymous said...

I agree with the comments above. Since you've already signed up, go ahead and do it. But as Elizabeth says, bring something else to occupy your time. And don't take it personally or as a reflection on your work if you sell few or no books. I have two Sisters in Crime friends who spent a whole day at a crafts fair recently, and neither of them sold a single book!

Some extroverts love this kind of event and talking to people. Personally, I usually hate it unless I'm in a really outgoing mood, and even then, sometimes I don't sell any books. Many people have been telling me lately that although they'd love to buy my books, they simply can't afford it. They then sometimes go on to relate sob stories about being unemployed, on disability, etc.

Personally, as Brad Paisley sings, "I'm so much cooler online." Speaking of which, on your blog on Nov. 11th, I'm planning a post called "Truth is stranger than fiction - the tragic saga of my golden retriever Lucky." This should fit your blog by bridging the memoir/fiction gap - it's inspired by the positive reactions I've had to my author photo with my late retriever Lucky.

Julie Lomoe's Musings Mysterioso


Tabitha Bird said...

If I get the chance to go to these events I absolutely purchase books. I love having signed books by authors. all the best for this event and the speaking engagement :)

Patricia Stoltey said...

I've signed up for a similar venue ( the authors' nook within the two-day Holiday Market), a well-attended annual event held at our wonderful Senior Center. The author nook section is in its second year, but the craft fair has been around for a long time. Traffic is always heavy both days, but whether those folks will buy books or not is another question.

However, in general, I've enjoyed every event in which I've participated, even the ones with no books sold. It's all about meeting and talking to people, getting your information (via those bookmarks or cards) into their hands, and getting exposure for your name and your book title(s). And I always have chocolate at my table to lure readers close enough to talk to me.