April 7, 2014
I went to the San Antonio Book Festival over the weekend to sign books at the booth of my publisher, Black Rose Writing. There were lots of reasons to go – my publisher asked, I have friends in the area, and San Antonio is one of my all-time favorite cities. Despite the cold, damp weather, I had a great time.
Selling books in a booth at a festival requires frenetic activity. You can’t just sit and smile. Like most writers, I’m a bit of an introvert. But when you’re interspersed among dozens of other writers and booksellers, you practically have to grab passersby by the lapels to get their attention.
My colleague, who was pushing his children’s book, got lots of moms and kids leafing through the beautiful illustrations. A novel is a tougher sell – people are much more uncertain if they’ll like it. I offered miniature chocolate bars and lollipops to folks. Since most people are polite, they’d listen to my quick pitch if they took a piece of candy. I described Saving Texas as a mystery featuring a newspaper reporter and a secessionist candidate for governor. I went into more detail if they seemed receptive. Set in Houston, San Antonio and West Texas! A love triangle, sex and killings! Only $16.95!
What you can’t tell buyers is how the book swallowed three years of your life. How you sat in a drafty kitchen on dreary London mornings and tried to write every day. How your characters overloaded your brain even while you swam laps in the local pool. How you wrote 60 e-mails to agents and book publishers who didn’t even bother to answer. How you finally found one perceptive soul who liked it. How solid and silky that first copy felt in your hands. Only $16.95? Priceless!