In talking to someone at work today I mentioned that I was going to a big comic convention this weekend to sell my books.
They said that sounded like fun and hoped I sold some books.
I told them – well, I don’t. I never do. (This is writer hyperbole – I DO sell books, just not many, so take that statement with about a handful of salt).
They asked a very good, and pointed question – then why do it?
And sometimes I don’t know.
I do cons because I need to get out there, to get my books out there, and to keep trying. I need to do shows because my books won’t just find their audience, I have to help the audience find them.
I can’t afford to be an optimist when it comes to my books. I have to be a realist and I have to keep pushing.
I have to hope that some people will take a chance on my work, that some people will want to know what I am about, and that someone will become a fan. I accept that most people won’t care but some people may. I have to hope for that.
And that’s why I do these shows – hope.
The reality is that I am one little writer in a hall full of hundreds of talented people selling their own wares and no one is there looking for me. My odds are not great to make an impact. But I will try. I have been doing this show in particular for over twenty years, off and on. I never sell much at all but it’s fun to go and it’s an opportunity to promote my writing and our convention that some friends and I run.
But there is the pragmatic side. I am currently sick. It’s an expensive show to do. It’s long hours and little sleep. It’s more of a job than my own job.
But that’s the path I chose.
If you are gonna write, or do any art, then you have to understand that you are the main promoter, cheerleader, and sales person for your stuff. If you aren’t willing to go out and bang the drum a little for your own work then you are for sure doomed. And there’s something to be said about selling your work to someone in person, who makes the choice to buy it. People who don’t know you and have no connection to you.
Connecting with someone over your work, that’s pretty amazing.
It’s rare, but amazing.
So why do I do this?
Well, to a degree I have no choice. The market is saturated, any advertising I could afford would be tuned out, and I just don’t have the time to become infamous right now.
So I have to do shows to promote my work.
And I like them. When you are at the shows you make friends, you see friends, and you have strange experiences that only happen at the shows. And you learn. You learn to sell and to promote.
So off I go, to sell, sell, sell…in the least obnoxious way I am able to.
Wish me luck.