Monday, September 23, 2013

Festivals and Fairs. A good place to sell books?


A good place for authors to sell books?

Driving home from the Hayward Fall Festival yesterday, I began dwelling on the profit/ loss aspects of  selling books at this type of event. 
        I set up a tent with two other authors for the one-day festival. Note that our sign should read, "Book Signing," but due the wind, that was the only way we could secure it!
       The Festival drew a huge amount of people, and I sold about 16 books, which is the most I've ever sold at a festival or fair. I counted my money and thought, "Yes, I made a decent profit!" But I couldn't keep my mind from straying to what the drawbacks were despite the profits.
        I've devised a list of considerations for anyone contemplating doing something similar:

1.    You can never predict the weather! We were fortunate to have hit a pretty good weather day, but it's always possible to have your day totally ruined by extreme weather.
2.    The amount of people attending can never be counted on!  These things have less attendance every year. I believe there are just too many of them, as every community wants to get into the act .
3.    It's a lot of work and time spent for the amount of profit made. It takes time to order books, pack everything, buy bookmarks, postcards, and on and on. I left home at seven, which meant getting up at 5:30. The day before was spent preparing. It was about a 75 minute drive each way, so gas is another cost item.
4.    You need to buy a state seller's permit.
5.    You have to pay for a space. Ours cost $90, and we split it three ways.

1.   We all made a profit selling our books.
2.    Many people, although not buying books, took cards.
3.    Some of these will buy eBooks.
4.    In general, events like this provide exposure for the authors.

      5.  It's always fun to get together with fellow authors.

I have an author friend who believes it is more advantageous to sell by yourself. While that may be true, it is a lot easier to sit for the day with company. Or to take a potty break or go to pick up some lunch. Our tent was not a one-person set up, either! An outdoor event is definitely easier with more than one.

Dear readers,
In case you're wondering, in the above photo I'm the one on the right wearing my trademark black fedora, oblivious to the fact that with my sunglasses on, I'm a ringer for one of the Blues Brothers! We had a fun time at the festival, and met many interesting people. 
I hope you all are enjoying the beautiful fall weather we've been having. The air has been cool and crisp here, the leaves just beginning to change.
Till next time, wishing you good health and good times,


Friday, September 6, 2013

Choosing a Title for Your Novel

Choosing a Title for Your Novel

How Important Is It?

            I need help. I’m about 2/3 through my third suspense novel and I cannot decide on a title. I’ve asked my writer’s group and they think it would be easier to decide once they’ve read the entire thing. I don’t agree. My baby needs a name and I’m asking for your help.
           I believe a title needs to be three things:

1.     Reveal the Genre. This is most important because, along with the cover art, the title is what the potential reader/buyer sees first. This is a critical fact for eBooks, where the reader will not even bother to read the blurb if the title and cover do not seem to be the genre he’s interested in.

2.     Original. This is tough. But think about how many books with punchy titles are on the bestseller list. Gone Girl comes to mind and it’s been on the NYT list for more than a year now.

3.     Simple.  We could all point to bestsellers that have long, complicated titles, but they are the exceptions. We might need to save those for authors who have already made their niche.

I know this is a difficult task without knowing the storyline. But with genre

in mind, suspense, which one would make you want to read the blurb?

Lethal Liasons                                                 Tragedy
Nocturnal Liasons                                           Illicit
Illicit Liasons                                                   Trespass
Deadly Liasons                                                Night Travels
Incident                                                            Thy Neighbor’s Wife
Behind Closed Doors                                       Swapped
In Dark Houses                                                Illegal Entry
Deadly Seductions                                           Illicit Malice
Lust Struck                                                      Seductive Justice
Carnal Malice                                                  Carnal Justice

            I’m leaning toward a one-word title. Unfortunately, my favorite is Illicit, and someone else just published a book by that title. However, since mine won’t be out until 2014, I’m thinking that might not be a problem. I also like Carnal Malice, but another author is doing a “Malice” series and I wouldn’t want us to be confused with each other. So, you see, I really need help!

Dear Readers,
I hope you are all having a good time reading and writing. My third novel is coming along and I’m hoping to get to the point of editing in a couple of months. Summer has been distracting!
Thanks for reading and for your help in finding a title. It is much appreciated.