Show Me the Bling

Sensational Saturdays

a blog where I talk about whatever I want

I hemmed and hawed about going to Rom Con for months. Decided I wasn’t going, but I still kept talking about it. Finally my darling husband kept saying I should go. And so I went. Not because he said so, but because if anyone is more “ahem” frugal than me, its Jeff. And if he was okay with spending (let’s face it, he’s the one with the job) the money, then why was I having issues?

So I went, and I had a fabulous time. But more than that I accomplished the goal of finding out what I would do if I were attending as a published pararnormal author.

1. Don’t be a party pooper. Yes you spent money to be there and maybe the tea or luncheon or whatever wasn’t what it should have been, but the people surrounding you paid to be there too and they are disappointed not just in the food or the service, but in you for your attitude. Suck it up and be the leader.

2. Do bring free stuff Yes freebies cost money. And no, you can’t see how this will affect your bottom line. But it’s like paying to go to Disney World and then not buying the tickets to go into the park. You already paid, you’re already there. And the readers really want you to impress them, make them want to buy not just one book, but to become fans and buy the rest of your books for the rest of your life. Spend big and do it right. Make sure more than one person out of one hundred goes home feeling that you are the big cheese.

3. Do come prepared If you are participating in an intimate chat with you as the host and 10 readers, bring notes. Bring ideas for things to talk about, questions, stupid party tricks. You are nervous, but so are the readers. Nobody knows what to say, but you are the one everyone is looking at. Cheap gifts and a list of topics will help immensely to get everyone over the cavernous moments of awkward silence.

4. Do Have fun! Relax! Spread the wealth. Readers want you to be human, they want to see the real you. Okay, not really. What they really want to see is the fun you who goes to parties and everyone loves. Which is tough for a group of true introverts like authors. Fake it.

5.Do Bring lots of bookmarks I usually think bookmarks are one of the worst things authors spend their money on. Why? Because I go to something and get too many and then I come home and throw half or more away. But I realized something this weekend. Bookmarks are calling cards for readers. As a reader I kept the book marks of those I want to read again. And if you didn’t get a bookmark to me, I likely had trouble remembering your name, even if you are the person I very much want to read. Buy them, spread them out to every table, and don’t say “I have bookmarks up here IF anyone wants them.” Kiss of death.

I have to expound on the last point because it exemplifies something that we need to become stronger on as authors. Asking for the sale. Salesmen know when you ask a yes or no question the answer is more likely to be no. So do moms. SO DON’T ASK YES OR NO QUESTIONS!

Stating your bookmarks are up front when you know everyone will be pouring out the back to get to their next event and IF they want one they have to swim against the tide and find you and push through the crowd at the table just to get a bookmark for an author they don’t even know? KISS OF DEATH.

Better way to do it. Leave a bookmark at each table before the event. Everyone can look at it and decide if they want it. Even those who might not want it, will likely put it in their bags.

Even better way to do it. Attach something fun to your bookmark. A cool freebie, a mermaid charm with a tassel, chocolate. Bookmarks with bling go in everyone’s bag.

Best way to do it. Take the (hopefully) bling bookmark and go to each table just before the event starts. Say hi to each table and make small talk. Smile. Hand out bookmarks, preferably with bling attached. You will be the star.

Because in the end marketing success isn’t if your book is fantastic. It isn’t if your publisher gave you five hundred copies to give away. Its if you are positive and friendly. So make the most out of what you have and use your smile! Those are the authors everyone talks about. The nice ones.

Leave me your experiences at author events, either as an author or as a reader. Did you have fun? Did you leave satisfied or even exhilerated? What made the difference for you?


Filed under Sensational Saturday's

6 responses to “Show Me the Bling

  1. Jessica, a timely post. I am going to the Moonlight and Magnolias Conference at the end of September. Planned to bring business cards, did not think to bring bookmarks. Great tip!

    • Another trending item are the trading cards. I’m keeping all the ones I received in sleeves. Some authors signed them. Who knows, may be as collectible as baseball cards someday! And I’m serious about the chocolate. Little bags of hershey kisses with a business card or book mark and you would be tucked into everyone’s take home bag!

  2. Great insights, Jessica. Sounds like the conference was a success! Actually I do love bookmarks. I was at a TRW meeting recently chatting with an author I’d never met, went home later and realized I was using her book mark in my book. There’s no way I won’t remember her now! I do tend to grab the ones with the doodads attached too. Our eyes are just drawn there.

    • Maybe its because I have soooo many bookmarks that I’m picky about which ones I keep. Cute, clever, (sorry Margie I can’t think of a third word) or just unique, those stay in my bookmark drawer for future use. But I know a lot of the readers keep every bookmark. Boy those romance readers who attended who are not authors are fantastic fans! My buddy (E) was amazing. She had a little book with all the authors and notes. Love her!

  3. Jessica–I think your points are excellent. Let me add that we’re all adults here and whether an author is born shy doesn’t really matter. Get out and interact with people. I was at a conference and one of the presenters was to sit at each table for lunch. Imagine how lame the author looked whose name was at my table and SHE DIDN’T SHOW UP! Love the idea of the bookmarks with doodads, too. If it takes chocolate, go for it.

    • It takes chocolate to stand out! Trust me. I put together the goodie bags for the October CRW Romance Lovers tea. (Anyone is welcome to send bookmarks or doodads for promo). And while I’m stuffing 90 bags with bookmarks the ones with character are the ones I remember. Recipes are good too! But to not even show up? That is an impression that no one wants to make. Readers remember, especially the ones who go out of there way to go to a conference.

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