Saturday, May 21, 2011

Why I Do Signings When I Have No Books

The Southern Indiana Writers have a booth for the third year in a row at the Victorian Chautauqua (summer education/entertainment festival) at the Howard Steamboat Museum in Jeffersonville, Indiana. My books are in electronic formats only, so I didn't have anything to sell, personally. I have stories in the Southern Indiana Writers anthologies, but that isn't why I wanted to go.

Some years, we sell a lot of books. Some years, we don't. But we still go, and would go if we knew for a fact we wouldn't sell.


Today, we met a young girl (under 12) who writes stories about her life and publishes them in little chapbooks. Her grandmother wants to collect them and publish them as a perfectbound book. I was glad to introduce them to T. Lee Harris, our production manager, who can help them make that happen.

We met a young woman whose significant other praised her writing and said she needed--NEEDED--to publish her book. We talked to her about the POD publishers we've done business with and about formatting for Amazon Kindle and for Smashwords. She said we'd given her more useful information than she'd collected in months of asking around and reading online.

We met a man with ghost stories and a couple of ghost-hunters and traded craft tips with some kids who help their parents make goat-milk soap and knit goat-wool clothing. We talked with other writers and we talked with would-be writers and we talked with avid readers.

A lot of people looked at our books and took our brochures and bookmarks. I know from the past that we'll run into people throughout the year who will say, "Oh! I saw you at the Chautauqua!" or "I didn't buy anything that day, but I saw one of your books in a store later and I said, 'I know them!' and bought one."

So it probably "pays off" somewhere down the line in money, but the satisfaction is beyond monetary, and that kind of payoff is immediate.

Marian Allen
Fantasies, mysteries, comedies, recipes


mooderino said...

Good for you Marian, that sounds great.

Marian Allen said...

We're always glad to talk to writers who want critiques. People who just want pats on the head are NOT happy with us! Of course, we're not the group for ALL serious writers, either. Sometimes we need to be educated as to what the writer wants to achieve and what the "target" audience expects. :)

Marian Allen
Fantasies, mysteries, comedies, recipes