And then there are the not so good ones

October 12, 2015 at 10:00 am

Last week I wrote enthusiastically about my time at Angus & Robertson bookstore at Victoria Point. I had a great time there and sold a good number of copies. It was a wonderful encouragement to me.

I was also impressed by Catherine and her team and the experience they clearly had with staging a book signing for an unknown author. They had had something up in store to advertise the week before I visited, and when I arrived, the table was already set up and ready for me. I just had to take out my books and charm bracelets and sit down.

Unfortunately, not every event is that well organised. Yesterday I attended an event (which shall remain nameless) that was at the opposite end of the spectrum.

When I first signed up to attend, I tried to find out some more about it, but even the event’s own website was hard to follow and didn’t contain much information. It was difficult to even find the location of the venue where the event was being held! Eventually I found a flyer that included the address and made all the notes I needed so I would go to the right place at the right time.the not so good copy

Last week was a busy one for me, so I neglected to send my usual is-it-still-good-to-go email to make sure everything was set for the event. It wasn’t until the day of the event that I realised I’d never even received a reply to say that there was a table being saved for me. So I was a bit nervous as I arrived. Would they have space?

The event was on the other side of town, and when I got there, it wasn’t clear where to park, nor was it clear where to enter the grounds of the venue. There was a sign with an arrow on it, but it was pointing in the opposite direction to the only open gate. After wandering around, confused, for a couple of minutes, I went through the gate and found the event.

There were about seven authors there, including myself, and for the hour or so we were there, we sat chatting to each other, because there was no one else to chat to. The event probably had a maximum of ten attendees, most of whom didn’t look twice at us. Two people came around to look at the books in the time we were there, and to my knowledge, no one bought anything from any of us. Most authors were starting to pack up before the hour was even up.

This isn’t the first event I’ve been to where the majority of sales come from auth0r-to-author purchases, although even they didn’t take place this time (a number of us had already done that at other events we’d attended together), but this was the first event I’ve ever attended where there were so few attendees that no sales resulted at all, and the first event at which I’ve sold absolutely nothing. I did give out a few bookmarks and talked to another writer about the editing service I offer, so I hope something might come of it down the track, but it was interesting to contrast this event with last week’s. It’s amazing what good organisation and marketing can achieve, and it’s clear what the absence of those things results in as well. A bit of effort is worth the time, as it does pay dividends.


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