Monday, October 27, 2008

Did you miss me?

I usually ask DH that question when I get back from somewhere that I've been for any longer than say six hours.

His response, usually accompanied by a sly grin, is something along the lines of: Were you gone?

I was gone this weekend - at NJRW in Iselin NJ at the Hilton Hotel, which last year I believe was the Sheraton Hotel.

Confusing as the venue was, I had a great time rooming with Jen Baum. We always have a blast and this weekend was no exception.

This convention was a bit different for me, however, in that I didn't look at is work. I wasn't there to schmooze, to sign, to pitch or even really to learn. I was there to get away for the weekend and a have some fun. It was nice not to have the stress of dealing with an agent or editor appointment or worrying about having to hawk my books at the signing [though it was fun last year]. This time I got to shop the Book Fair [limited myself to four books to go along with the 7 books I got for free], and I didn't feel rushed.

On thing I did learn this weekend in spite of my desire to just kick back and have a good time, had to do with promo. I haunted the goodie room as I usually do and took note of the types of things authors brought. As in the past I've noticed this: PAPER GOODS DO NOT MOVE!

If you're planning to spend money on promo items, I would suggest thinking twice about dropping a lot of money on paper book marks, business cards or even brochures or post cards. Anything not attached to a fun item like a beaded book mark, a piece of candy, a candle, a seashell, whatever, usually does not get touched.

If you want your name to be seen, or someone to take an interest in your books consider the following: Giving away free books [You may think, wow, that's expensive, but even giving away a dozen copies of your print book puts a dozen readers in touch with how you write. You could make a fan for life.] Attach your post card to a gift of some sort - my beaded book marks still moved pretty well, though it wasn't the free for all grab fest it has been in previous years. I came home with a box full, but the ones I put out did get taken. Invest in pens - seriously, writers can't resist pens or small notepads, these things move. Provide something useful - sticks of gum, packs of tissues, candles, matchbooks, etc - an item a reader will use will attract attention.

Disclaimer: I'm no marketing expert. I speak only from the experience of watching what people were taking and what they were not taking from the goodie room. In my opinion the most important thing is to get your writing into the hands of readers, not just your name.


Shelley Munro said...

I noticed that paper items didn't move as well at Nationals either.
I did teabags with a business card attached to promo my Samhain book, Tea For Two. They all went while I brought bookmarks home.

I bet you had a great time at the conference. I loved the NJ conference the year I attended.

Bernadette Gardner and Jennifer Colgan said...

Tea bags are a cool idea! Something that ties in with the theme of the book is always a draw.

The weekend was fun, especially without the added stress of 'working' the conference, but next year I think I will probably go back to trying a pitch, a signing, etc.

Jen said...

Glad you had fun!