By Lauren Carr
Imagine this: Writers Conference. You are a published author with your first, second, third, or whatever book, traveling for hours to spend a whole weekend at a hotel promoting your book(s).
Your job, should you chose to accept it, is to convince the readers, fellow authors, and, if you are lucky to get the opportunity, literary agents and publishers, to like, if not love, your book enough for them to invest in buying it.
Why would any author not take on this opportunity? Well, there can be many reasons that some authors would be hesitant. For one, how many of us have the money to invest in registration and hotel for a conference that would be a sure thing.
Suppose you fail? Suppose you don’t sell anything? Suppose you sit up in front of everyone at your panel discussion only to learn afterwards that you had a big hunk of lettuce stuck to your teeth the whole time and no one told you?
Then, you would have invested the money into registration and a hotel and end up financially in the hole. Not to mention the deep wound in your pride as you sit at your table at your book signing hour with Nora Roberts next to you with her line of admirers spilling out the door while you’re sitting there playing with your pen. (Been there, done that.)
At one mystery conference, after my second mystery came out in a big expensive hardback ($26), I was seated next to an author with a six-dollar mass paperback. She and other authors, who also had mass paperbacks, had lines around the tables while I sold one book. I came away from that conference feeling like a failure.
No, this post is not to tell you not to go to C3, I’m telling you to go!
Today, social media is the thing for book promotion. Basically, it’s free, which means your only investment is your time. Believe me. I know. I rarely do in-person book events anymore. It’s either a sure thing or for a good cause. I get more out of Twitter, Facebook, and the other sites. Plus, I can do it naked while having a bad hair day.
However, you can’t let that be your whole book promotion package. There are readers who love to meet writers and this is an opportunity to shine. In person, you can let your personality sparkle. Readers will see how fast you are at delivering a witty line on the panel. They can see how bright your smile is.
Your enthusiasm for your book will really come through in a way that it can’t across the Internet. Once, at a book event, a reader told me that she was buying all of my books because I loved them so much that she knew she would, too. As she sat reading my books, she could pick up my enthusiasm which would not have happened on Facebook.
When readers meet authors at a book event, not only will they have a face, they will have a person—a real-live friend—not just an avatar—to associate with your books. It’s a personal connection that can’t be made across the Internet.
So, here is another way to think about traveling to the C3 conference:
Suppose you succeed? Suppose you sell everything? Suppose you walk into the conference room for your panel and floor everyone with your sparkling personality and walk out of that room with a roomful of new fans.
So sign up for C3. Submit a short story to the C3 anthology (there is still time and openings). Get dressed, and comb your hair, and come to Baltimore to meet your fans and make new ones. Don’t forget to brush your teeth and use deodorant.
I’ll get dressed … I promise.