Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Keeping Busy at the Bookfest

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I love bookfests. For one thing, there’s always someone to talk to, even if it’s just the author at the table next to you. Networking is important, right? Plus you’ll usually get traffic, even if you’re a debut author and nobody has heard of your book. Even better, the people you meet actually came there to buy books. How cool is that?
The downside of bookfests is that they often require you to sit at a table for seven or eight hours, trying to look warm, engaging, and interesting, e.g., not desperate. 

Author Looking Warm, Engaging, and Interesting
 Any daylong author event is going to involve a certain amount of downtime, when the crowd thins out. Like during the Panel featuring the Really Popular Authors. Or the chocolate dessert demo in the auditorium. I was once at a bookfest where Paula Deen was the keynote, and let me tell you, I was totally the bridesmaid at that wedding.
Sometimes the customers who are there are not your target audience. For instance, you’re pitching a middle grade book about serial killers. The crowd is mostly grandparents buying for their grandchildren. Middle graders would be all over it. Grandparents—not so much. 
            So most authors have developed strategies for making good use of that downtime. There’s only so many times you can straighten up the piles of books or refill the candy dish, right? The savvy author doesn't waste a minute.
Author tweeting to college roommate: Guess where I am?
Fortunately, I recently attended the Buckeye Bookfest in Wooster, OH, where there were many good examples of authors with stellar time management habits. I'm going to share some of their strategies here. 

For instance, a lull in the crowd might be just the time to catch up on your correspondence. There was that really important email from your agent, for instance. And you do need to sign off on that half million dollar publicity campaign.

Actual Customers Will Be Lucky To Get Any
Smart authors maintain healthy habits. That candy dish looks mighty tempting. It's important to keep up your strength, right? But authors know better than to fill up on sugary treats. Besides, that candy is for CUSTOMERS.
Author Trying to Figure Out How This Thing Works
          


Speaking of strength, physical fitness is important. Maybe a little physical therapy is in order to limber up those writing muscles.  Much can be accomplished in a few minutes of downtime. 


Author Stealing Other Authors' Ideas
Many readers don't realize that downtime at bookfests can be  a great time to begin researching  your next novel. 

Author practicing his autograph
In fact, this may be a great time to WRITE your next novel.  Why not? It's interesting for readers to see authors at work. Now that you know what you're doing, how hard could it be? Also note the savvy marketing strategy.
Hiding People Magazine Inside
Maybe you'd like to catch up on your reading. Prospective readers will be impressed with your literary eye. 
Author Reaches Next Level on Dungeon Hunter
This might be just enough time to review possible designs for your next book cover.
Authors Sharing Latest Gossip
Group events can be a great time for developing mentoring relationships. Most authors are more than willing to share their wisdom with others. 
Author succumbs to candy-induced sugar crash
Just remember: it's important to pace yourself. A day at the bookfest can be grueling. There's nothing wrong with taking a little break now and then.

With thanks to authors Faith Durand, Mindy McGinnis, Geoffrey Girard, Sam Thomas, Tricia Springstubb, Rae Carson, Mary Ellis, and Kylie Logan.

1 comment:

Mindy McGinnis said...

I love it Cinda, thanks for posting this!