Last night at a local business ladies evening, which I was attending as Kate Allan, director of Red Wave Communications, I met a lady who said to me straight off, “Oh, I know you! You write books! Yes, you gave that talk at the Town Hall.” I did, and it was about a year ago, and I had to confess that I was also, Kate Allan, author, and I told the group a little about my novels.
Also yesterday I was speaking to a director of a literature festival. “The problem authors don’t realise is,” he said, “that unless you’re a brand name author, you’re not going to pack a theatre out. But then, when we put them in the library and 20 people turn up – the authors complain, saying, you put me in the library and therefore only 20 people came along. But had we scheduled them in the theatre, they’d still have only got an audience of 20.”
My point is: yes, you’ve devoted a day of your life (with travel) to that event where *only* 20 people showed up, sure, but in the music industry, small-venue gigs are a recognised route which work successfully for many bands to garner a fan base. The fact is that many readers enjoy meeting authors, and having an audience of 20 allows that event to be intimate.
You should be thinking of events as investments, investments which can pay dividends.
Dividend 1 – there is an opportunity to earn money from appearances
Dividend 2 – you’ll sell some books there and then
Dividend 3 – some from the audience will see your book later or look it up later and buy it
Dividend 4 – some will actually read your book, like it and perhaps tell friends
Dividend 5 – years later some will still remember the event
Dividend 6 – years later some will be looking out for your next book, and will buy it
Dividend 7 – some may recommend you to another speaking opportunity
Part of getting your book out there, is you, the author, getting out and talking to people face to face about it. Formally and informally. Nearly all authors I work with tell me that they feel shy/ nervous/ uncomfortable/ scared of giving talks and readings. This is normal. I’ll post some tips on overcoming nervousness, and also on public speaking and how to get your author gigs in the first place.