Friday, March 15, 2013

How Can An eBook Author Do The Book Fair Thing?

While I have four books "in print" and available to the public, they are all eBooks. How does an author such as myself make an appearance at book fairs, festivals, or signings when she has no paper and ink book to show, sell, and inscribe? I've read it can be done, and next month I'll have a chance to try to do it.

I was invited to a school book expo at which there will be an eclectic array of authors. Some of them will be local, some of them graduates of the high school who have been recently published. And there will be me. It's the school's first attempt at doing this, and this seems like a safe place for me to experiment.

What I plan to do is show up with a laptop that will have a display of my four available books. I don't know if I can get Internet access there, so I'll have various pages from my website loaded onto the computer and available for viewing. And, of course, the Saving the Planet & Stuff trailer. This techie set-up, I've read, is how authors such as myself can make public appearances.

I don't expect to make any sales. Assuming I attract any members of the public at all, my expectation is that any of them who own Kindles or Nooks will make any purchases at their leisure. I know that's what this Kindle reader would do. So I'm wondering if this could end up being a more comfortable situation than writers usually have to deal with where their books for sale are piled up in front of them or somewhere nearby, and money is changing hands somewhere in the room.

Without that "Is he going to buy?" "Is she upset because I'm not buying?" "What if I make a mistake signing her book?" "No one is going to her table; what a loser." "No one is coming to my table; I'm such a loser" vibe, will author and readers be able to interact more naturally. Will we chat about eBooks and the state of publishing?

We shall see. Report to follow next month.


david elzey said...

i've just been hosting as the in-house bookstore for a medical writer's conference, and some of the authors speaking had postcards for their ebooks that they wanted us to carry on the tables alongside the hardcopies. the problem for us (as a bookseller) is that we essential become a "showroom" for their book that the customer then buys elsewhere and we lose the sale.

that's not your issue, but i had another author who had a business card printed up that allowed anyone who bought their print book a "coupon" for a free ereader version. again, not your situation necessarily, but...

is it possible to have business-sized cards that will allow people to purchase the ebooks down the road while letting them "browse" samples in person? no awkwardness, and perhaps as a result, more sales than with the pressure.

don't know if that's helpful...

Gail Gauthier said...

Yes, I will have business cards. I was saving that for an eco-post for next week. I'm limiting "bling" for my new eBook to just the business cards (which I would have, anyway) because the book is about environmentalists, and I see a lot of book merchandizing as being materials on a direct route to transfer stations. I may regret that.

I'm also going to bring copies of the original editions for people to see.

A bookstore is going to provide books for some of the authors. I suggested to the organizer that the booksellers might not be crazy about having an epub writer there, but she didn't think it was an issue. It's the first time she's done this, so we'll see how this goes.