“So be sure when you step, Step with care and great tact. And remember that life’s A Great Balancing Act. And will you succeed? Yes! You will, indeed! (98 and ¾ percent guaranteed) Kid, you’ll move mountains.”― Dr. Seuss, Oh, The Places You'll Go!
|TM & copyright © by Dr Seuss Enterprises, L.P. 1960, copyright renewed 1988.|
Ninety-eight and three-quarter percent guaranteed? That’s pretty good odds, and this is how I approach author visits. With great anticipation. In the past few weeks I’ve had a string of events, many for CBCA Book Week, 2015.
For Book Week, I went touring in the Western Downs to libraries and schools: always fun. Workshops, author visits and signings were squeezed around work days, and then there was another event in Brisbane. Good travel week, that! Last week I also got to visit a group of students who’ve been reading my YA novel Integrate as part of their English studies. All in all, I’ve been privileged to meet some amazing young people through these opportunities.
But as you’d know, not every event goes swimmingly. One must not overlook that one-and-a-quarter percent exception.
Over the past year there have been signings and events where I’ve sold a reasonable number of books. Other times I’ve sold none. (Not much compensation for hours of travel and overnight accommodation ...) There have been events where the group has been wonderfully interactive and attentive. I have also had the experience where a portion of attendees simply weren’t interested in what I’ve had to say or sell. Frustrating, but thankfully, rare.
This is the roller-coaster of an ‘unknown’ author. And even for better known writers, it seems it can be hard to draw a crowd, which can be disappointing. Does this mean we authors are foolish to persist engaging in this way? It's a lot of hard work and certainly doesn’t pay a great deal.
Just remember the 98 and ¾ component.
For this reason it is all the more meaningful when people actually make the effort to come and, even more so, purchase one (or more) of your novels. And when the audience at a workshop or speaking engagement are leaning in, interactive and enthusiastic, it makes any preparation and travel time worthwhile. It’s also great motivation to ensure our social media efforts are strategic, and this is something we can only grow and develop over time. It's also a great reminder of just how important it is to support each other as writers and 'spread the word' as we each work towards building a solid author platform.
All in all, I believe author visits are a wonderful experience. Not only does it raise the profile of local writers and publishers, even when the event doesn't yield much in the way of sales, but I’ve engaged with some remarkable individuals through such opportunities. Further, I’ve been honoured to invest in the writing journey of future authors, and have been able to introduce my novel to attendees' TBR list.
“You’re off to Great Places!Today is your day!Your mountain is waiting,So... get on your way!”― Dr. Seuss, Oh, The Places You'll Go!
Adele Jones lives in Queensland, Australia. She writes young adult and historical novels, poetry and short works. Her first YA novel Integrate was awarded the 2013 CALEB Prize for unpublished manuscript, with the sequel Replicate being released in October 2015. Her writing is inspired by a passion for family, faith, friends, music and science – and her broad ranging imagination. To find out more visit www.adelejonesauthor.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org