So, I have a signing arranged at Swansea Library for the end of the month with fellow fantasy writer Joanne Hall. The library warned me that even though they put up posters, not many people come to these things. But I was prepared to do some promotion myself, made some posters, got some flyers and went to put them out in Oxfam bookshop. They are more than happy to put them out and to let me do a signing there, perhaps. Certainly nicer than the indie bookshop on Uplands who said no, outright. But, like the library, they warned me not many people come, even if they promote. And i find that so sad. As a kid I used to love to go to book signings, to meet authors, and i would read any book on the fantasy shelf. I loved to try new things. But readers today seem to be fussier. Is that because bookshops only stock the main authors, so it’s actually harder to get to know new authors. There are more books available online, of course, but it’s hard to browse. You cant just look for titles and at pretty covers and take it from there, the way you can in a shop. You need to know what you want or have a recomendation. Is this why people don’t come to book signings? Because if they haven’t heard of the book, or had it recomended, they won’t take the chance? But getting someone to hear of your book, to get them to want to read it, that’s a difficult thing too. You can’t just bug people, because that pisses them off. You can’t fake reviews, because that pisses them off AND opens you up to ridicule and a bad reputation. So, what to do? Social networks are all well and good, but you can’t spam them, you need to get to know people, network, talk in groups, give advice, sell yourself, without selling yourself. But that isn’t easy for everyone. I’m not very good at it. I hate twitter and don’t have the patience to give the same general advice over and over on writing forums. It seems that, though technology, social networks, have brought us together with new people and given us more choice, more access to things we wouldn’t have had otherwise, it also creates more of a crowd, which is harder to stand out from. So, im trying real world promotion, discount flyers, posters, as well as online. I’ll find out end of the month if my promotion has paid off.
I really hope it does