Using Conventions to Sell Books (Reblog)

The Finished Masterpiece.jpgOne area of infernal mystery for me is marketing.  Many of us blog, tweet, tumble, and war our way to market our books and products.  There is an essential element missing though; the human element.  By this I mean word-of-mouth exchanges.

A great way of reaching the customer directly is going to conventions.  Going to conventions, getting face-to-face with customers, selling your book, and generating author buzz always confused me.  I’ve been to Comic-Con and I’ve seen the rows of tables with artists offering their wares.  It’s intimidating.

How do you get behind one of those tables and how do you sell your product?  More specifically, (1) which convention to choose,  (2) how do you get a table,  (3) how many books to bring,  (4) what do you put on your table, (5) what kind of extras to bring, and (6) how do you focus your message?

matt at his booth.jpg

Matt at his booth.

My good friend M.L.S. Weech (author, gentleman, and fellow Brown Piper) recently wrote a post that cuts away some of the mystery.  Weech frequents conventions and bookstores in an effort to promote his books and I consider him to be very experienced in this subject.  He’s figured out a lot of amazing information and he shared it recently on his blog.  As my blog is also about demystifying the writing process (from start to finish) I felt you all might find some amazing tools and tips in his words.

Matt’s post is hilariously titled, The Wrath of Cons; An Indie Author’s Guide to Conventions

Shameless Promotion.jpg

In the way of cyber-tastic interweb promotion, if you are into paranormal fantasy books involving beings who moonlight as soul shuttling reapers, you will likely enjoy Matt’s book, The Journals of Bob Drifter.

Below are a few of the marketing books on my shelf right now.  As I read them I will break down applicable information and share it with all of you.  After all, that’s what I try to do here at QE.

book in handMy goal is to isolate and develop tips that will allow us to reach down and grab readers by their ankles and shake out their pocket change.  Matt’s post (this reblog) will be the first “Marketing” category post on QE.  I plan to start populating this category with relevant and timely information.

Anyways!  Here’s the list:

  1. Do it! Marketing, by David Newman  This is more of a general marking book, but contagious cover artcovers some pretty sound technology aspects.  I picked it because it has 275 ratings and is sitting at 5 Stars.  That’s cooking with fire!
  2. Contagious: Why Things Catch On, by Jonah Berger.  First of all, this book has a beautiful cover.  Secondly, it has 4.5 stars with 600+ reviews.  Lastly, it’s an amazingly insightful read that goes way deeper than simple advertising schemes.  It looks at how people think and spread information.  It’s a brilliant read and one I will likely blabber on about more in the future.
  3. I’ve already talked about Write to Market, by Chris Fox here.  We had some good discussion on the idea of writing a book tailored to market on that day.  (I just moved that post into the newly created marketing category.)

That’s a wrap for today.  In short, check out Weech’s post!  I found it immensely helpful and it was just the kind of information I was looking for.  Until tomorrow, keep reading, keep writing, and as always – stay sharp!

Copyright Info (final)

32 responses

    • Thanks for stopping in and leaving some thoughts. If you get a chance give Weech some love on his page. He did all the work, I just reposted it 😀


  1. Oh marketing. A very important requirement. If only books could just magically sell themselves. Xp I’m kidding of course. Part of the fun in marketing is you can get super creative with it!

    I’m a big fan of creative marketing (be it viral or otherwise), but I’m also a big fan of meeting new people while marketing. You make many a friend and learn quite a lot. I am actually quite shy and a bit of a recluse in actual life but when it comes to bidness for whatever reason, a switch flips and I can talk. Outside of work or something I absolutely love doing, forget it, I can’t talk or socialize at all. Xp

    I’ve rambled enough.

    Cheers! ^_^

    Liked by 2 people

    • You and I are very silimilar in this way it would seem. This is largely because I am moving every few years and am surrounding by new faces. It’s hard to invest the time in people who come in and out of my life so rapidly. Regardless, I do the best I can!

      Thanks for swinging in to read today and for leaving some dark thoughts, as always!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Well considering I moved all the time (many times multiple times a year) my entire life, I know how you feel in regards to finding it hard to find the time to invest in people.

        I try sometimes, but I’m terrible at it. I got used to moving quite a bit and ironically, I’m in the middle of getting to move again (though I’m quite happy about this one). You get a certain mindset when you move that often. It makes it super hard to connect proper with anyone.

        I do a much better job here connecting than I ever do in actual everyday life. I can talk to someone while working and be perfectly great and at ease, then see the same person outside of work, and have no clue what to say and usually end up saying nothing or awkwardly waving. Xp

        Thank you for the reply.

        Cheers! ^_^

        Liked by 1 person

    • Well myself and couple of other combat cameramen would bring our pipes with us when we went on training exercises in the military. Our primary training area was up in the mountains of Asuza, California. There was a gun range up there, we would teach people how to set up field camps, rappel, use compasses, etc.

      Given we were completely cut off from the world (no phones, internet, distractions) we would sit around and talk about books or projects we were working on while smoking our pipes around the fire. Mind you in the winter it was freezing cold and icy (this was the premier pre-training evolution for our combat camera personnel deploying to Afghanistan).

      It was inspired by the Inklings (C.S. Lewis, Tolkien, a pub, some pipes, glorious books).

      Liked by 1 person

  2. As for marketing, that stuff isn’t what I love…. I love the stories; telling them, reading them, talking about them. Marketing them, or selling if you’d rather, is just like the vegetables I eat. Don’t like it, but I don’t like rickets even more! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I too am apposed to the rickets. I am learning to enjoy the marketing aspect, simply because it is something I have to do. I find I care more and produce better results when I can get my heart behind my actions.

      Do I hope I get and agent and publisher who does all of my marketing for me and simply tells me where to show up for books readings and mixers – hell yeah I do. But until that happens I will be my own promoter.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Whether you go Indie or Traditional, you already have said person. Her name is Supreme High Overlord, Conqueror of the Stars, Destroyer of Her Enemies, Smiter of Her Foes, Benevolent to Her Subjects and Creature of all that is Good and Holy. She runs your life, births your spawn and generally tolerates your inadequacies. You, mere mortal, call her WIFE.

        Liked by 1 person

      • My wife is too busy splitting atoms and powering billion dollar pieces of machinery to mess with promoting my trifles. We can’t maintain world-wide naval superiority without atomic powered machinery (and people…I wish).

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I always sell more books when I am able to attend conventions. Especially, when the event books me for a panel. My non-fiction book does much better when I can discuss the topic with a ready and willing audience. I am fortunate to live in an area where there are many conventions within a day’s drive who offer inexpensive tables in the artist areas.

    The majority of the conventions I attend usually book me as a literary guest which includes a free table. It’s not really free because I will sit on several panels during the event or judge a contest. I know many authors who diligently turn to conventions as a way of promoting their book and do rather well.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for taking the time to read and leave this meaty comment. I envy your prime real estate location. Not only would it likely take me a while to drive to a convention, I’d have to strap baby Thor to my chest at the convention like a tiny human shield. I do think a baby named Thor would do well at a convention though…

      I’m curious. When you say you are booked as a literary guest; how does this happen? Are they seeking you out, or are they asking if you would like to sit on panels when you are booking the venue? If they are seeking you out by what avenues are they locating you (i.e. are they creeping on your social media pages like stalkers?).

      Thanks again for leaving some juicy thoughts!

      Liked by 1 person

      • It occurs in different ways. I’ve been working the circuit long enough I’ve built a reputation in my area of the world. I used to co-own a tabletop game design company, much of our business had been running game rooms and Live Action games for said events along with providing a list of panels to fill their schedule. Our Steampunk appeal was incentive enough, I think. This was my life for the past 5-6 years.

        Many of my bookings over the past couple of years have been word of mouth or friends of organizers whispering in their ear to book me. I was a guest last weekend at a Women’s Conference in Denton, TX. I will be a literary guest at a convention in Garland, Tx in a couple of weeks. Each event is different, sometimes they just want me there to be there and other times it’s to be there and fill a panel time slot which end up being mini-lectures since my focus is Victorian Occult.

        Some events advertise the need to various types of guests. Never be afraid to send an inquiry and make a request for a table/passes in exchange for being a guest and offering to sit on a panel with other writers or one of your own based on your niché.

        I would not doubt the stalking of my social media pages, I am quite sure that has happened a time or two. I am by no means a must have guest, but I make sure that my panels are amusing and full of information. I’ve been pleased to have well attended panels, which helps my reputation.

        More than one day events is tricky because of hotel fee, which has been covered a few times by events. The other tricky part is what to do with my children. I take them when I can but it’s just not feasible. So, I am pickier about what cons and when.


      • Wow. Thanks for all of this information. I really appreciate you taking the time to compile some this and share what has worked for you. It certainly seems you have put in some mileage in your neck of the woods.

        In regards to marketing, as it relates to sales, when you panel at a convention do you see any uptick in sales of your book, Turning the Table: A look at the Victorian Supernatural Obsession? While I assume sales AT the convention would be favorable, I’m curious if there is any effect on sales from Amazon, author site, and wherever else the book is being sold online. In short, is there much word-of-mouth sales (people selling the book for you) that result from you frequenting conventions?

        Thanks again for humoring me on this. I know I’m not the only one learning something from you here.


      • I see more sales at conventions when I do a panel than when I do not. I see it as a way of marketing. People do talk, they mention the panel to those who might not have been able to attend.

        Oddly, I see more sales from Europe and UK via Amazon than I do from the US. No clue why.

        I see a lot of interest when people talk about my book to their friends, etc but most often the comments on social media insinuate they’d prefer to buy it directly from me. I do sell in a local shop and I see a few sales from that avenue.

        Marketing can be such a unique and odd creature. I am always happy to offer advice or assistance in that area to fellow authors. It can be such a headache and nightmare.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Well, it sounds like any other product out there. You need to get in front of people and Sell! Ug! Ug!
    What happens if you suck at Sales? 🙂 Which I do!
    Networking I can do. Selling…. Nope!

    I have done conventions before with my other business. And I have had tables at events that were possibly hankering for my product. I enjoy that more than typical sales, but like your friend says, it’s ALOT of work and exhausting. You want to take a day off after your done. 🙂

    Thanks for the follow up on how to market. Good information! Good to see how others do it!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think if you can’t do it yourself you are forced to contract marketing out to someone else. This, for me, is dangerous territory. Twitter is absolutely crawling with businesses that claim to be able to increase your site traffic and book sales by 12498123897 percent. I see them spamming the walls, but I also see no one is re-tweeting or liking their content (scratches head curiously).

      I know Matt (MLS Weech) has lost a significant amount of money to places that claimed they would be able to provide amazing marketing for his book. And really, many of these “marketing” places prey on indie authors.

      I guess my point is if we contract this aspect of the business out (and writing is a business) then we need to be sure every dollar we invest is invested with extreme care. If you are getting 1-5 dollars of profit for each book sold, and you spend 500 dollars on a marketing company, they better promote you to sell at least 100 books.

      Liked by 1 person

      • No doubt. There are many predatory people and so called businesses in every genre of business.
        I rely alot on REVIEWS! Which can also be deceptive, to a point.

        Sounds like your saying, if you publish it yourself, it’s best to just market it yourself, or be very careful who you hire to help market it.
        No question!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Marketing, ugggggh! This is already a sore spot with me when it comes to just a blog. I cant even begin to think of how intimidating this will be when I write my book. I was noticing one thing though, if you have your blog filled with comments from those that love your writing, if all of them hawked your book on their blog, and told their friends to hawk it too, that would be a great way to get it out there. Id love to put it on my page if you want me to. Let me know. I started a small page with a couple of books that I am hawking, I want this page to grow. If you want me to put yours up, and on my fb page and on my twitter I would do it for you. All I need is a front cover and a write up of what you want said about your book.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m with you on the marketing. It’s still kind of a foreign concept to me. Slowly, I’m sorting it out and learning new information. Those two books I listed are really helpful, especially Contagious. Hopefully when I have something useful to say I will be able to share some pointers.

      As for putting my book info on your page – I’m flattered to think you would do that for me. I appreciate it very much. I’m just not close to that point yet. I still have a lot of work to do and kinks to sort out. I’m not even projecting the book to release until early next year. But I’ll still be here when the time comes closer, hopefully you will be too! Hah!

      Thank you so much for all the kind words and for taking the time to give my post a read today.


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