Good morning everyone. Kacey here, getting her post up late today and my apologies. I’ve been working hard at preparing my household and myself to leave for 5 days next week and it’s included a few later nights writing as well.
We’ve all said many times on this blog that writing can be a lonely career. It’s a lot of writing by ourselves behind a computer screen, staring at words, speaking only to our characters and typing til our fingers are sore. All in the name of great work of course! LOL
But writing can be lonely, however, we also have a lot of “perks” in the job if we wish to use them, and have the budget to do so. One is Book Signings/Conferences where we can celebrate a bit with colleagues and meet our readers. I’ve done the Romantic Times Book Reviews conference in years past and its one fantastic time. But in keeping myself closer to home and saving money last year and this year, I’m only traveling within Canada. Next week I’ll be in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada at the Romancing the Capital Book Signing. This is the second time this event has happened and it was a blast last year. Next week the fun begins again, and I’m co-hosting 3 events, the book signing and I am anxious to see the readers I met last year and the new ones this year.
What happens at these conferences/book signings? Good question! *g*
For those authors who don’t know, most of these events center around a larger book signing during one day. Some of the events are 5-6 days, some can only be 2-3 days, but the book signing is usually the most anticipated event that we all look forward to. There are also panels where some authors (centered around one topic or genre) share with readers different aspects of their craft – from genre, the ups and downs of writing, the challenges, etc. Readers are also able to ask questions and the panels are amazing in the way that readers get to see the “harder” side of what the authors put into each book.
There are usually some meals/parties that every attendee can take part in (depending on length of event). It’s so so so much fun to mingle and whoop it up with readers. Letting go, having fun, dancing the night away with everyone makes the events even more fun and exciting.
So what is expected of an author at the events? Another great question! *g*
Each author lives within their own budget. So what one author may do as far as handing out swag/gifts, another one may be unable to do. But every author plans ahead and puts something in the registration bags that every attendee gets, if their budget allows (can be anything from customized pens to notebooks to print copies to customized coffee mugs – the bags are packed with goodies).
For me at this conference –
I have individual gifts for each attendee who is a part of my street team/reader group. These are gifts that are customized only for them and no one else at the event will get. I believe that showing appreciation for those people who tweet, blog, share on FB, word of mouth, and show great support for my books/me sometimes on a daily basis is very important. So again, planning ahead because of budgets, these gifts were the first Swag items I made sure I had.
I also have individual small bags of goodies for those who purchase print books at the signing. Again, something unique (but smaller than what the street team/reader group gets), showing my thanks for their purchase. It’s a small gesture that makes me feel good in doing it. I mean, readers spend a lot of money on books every year, and I love them for it! *g*
There are also baskets I have goodies for – postcards, pens, certain items that are inspired from the book(s) I’ve written. Example: Guarding Midnight is the first of my Canadian Muscle series so there’s Canadian items in there as well as things that are specific to that particular book. And since I’m co-hosting 3 events, I have 3 baskets to give away. Small tokens of appreciation again.
Evernight Publishing and a few authors have also sent me things to do a basket from them. All items are from the amazing publisher and authors who write for them. I love sharing my love of my publisher & my author colleagues. It’s a great way to share a publisher they may not be familiar with readers so they can look us up!
The key also to these conferences to keep in mind is that it brings the authors and readers together. I’ve met many readers at these type of events that I didn’t know online and we’ve connected on social media during or right away afterward. While we authors love our solitude, it is also important to try and get from behind the computers and meet those readers who enjoy our work and to have some fun once in a while. It’s not all about swag, baskets, giveaways – don’t get me wrong by anything I’ve mentioned above – it’s about the interaction with others who all share one passion. (The swag etc. are all bonuses!!)
Meeting other authors also rejuvenates the soul and the Muse – at least for me. That one on one conversation(s) with other like-minded individuals is amazing. I walk away from each conference excited to write again. The readers also give me the push that can be needed if writing has been stale and they remind me why I write. I write for myself of course but also for them, and it’s always exhilarating to hear from a reader just how much they enjoyed a story or two. Authors are human, we need that appreciation and validation too.
If you have the chance to attend any conferences/book signings, try to do so. If budgets allow and you don’t mind some travel, it’s totally worth it to join the fun.
I’ll post Part 2 of this topic on Sat, May 14th. I’ll share pictures of readers, authors, swag etc., to round out the post on the before and after. (I’ll do a shorter different topic that I’ll schedule to post on May 7th. I’ll still be in Ottawa, but won’t miss my blog day! *g*)
Until next week,