One of the main themes of my writing, and a coda I have grown to live by, is that we are stronger together. This sentiment of co-empowerment is evident in the independent author community, where writers of all genres must work together to spread their messages. Indie authors who rely on each other for feedback, lessons from experience, and honest constructive criticism are the word artists who find the most success in their literary goals.
My latest book launch for "To Die a Bachelor" was inspired by authors whom I admire, and whose author talks I have been lucky enough to participate in. Joan Dempsey, author of acclaimed "This is How it Begins," hosted my favourite event to date. Her natural warmth and down-to-earth aura permeated the small crowd, instilling a sense of
friendly intimacy among the rows of readers. This is the quality I seek to capture in my own author talks.
Personal interaction and community ties are vital to relationships with my readers, and with fellow indie authors. Maintaining a sense of ownership over my works while vulnerably seeking and accepting considerations from my peers has powerfully impacted my writing life. It is with this sense of community, and the idea that "we are all in this together," that I avidly accept and respond to questions from other authors.
As press about my latest book release was read, I received encouragement and praise from my fellow indies, and also some requests for guidance. While I am certainly not an expert in the world, I am an expert at myself. That's what being an indie author is all about, isn't it? So in this edition of "Ask an Indie," I will address the recent questions I have been asked about book signings.
I vehemently tout local establishments as a home base for launching yourself as an indie author. I have recommended arts and crafts festivals, and faires as low-cost opportunities to offer book signings. I myself am not quite a social butterfly, but I do thrive in small groups. My ideas and research on author events is thus based on my own particular acclimations. It has come to my attention that I am not the only people-loving introverted indie author!
Whatever your social habits and preferences, starting small and local is an ideal way to begin. You can find your own style and pace this way, becoming more comfortable as you learn what works for your genre and your reader relationship.
You could set up your own author signing anywhere. Why not throw yourself a party and invite friends and family who will attend and support you. I am partial to local libraries, because they are in my personal comfort zone. Small study rooms or classrooms can be reserved at no cost. Be aware that if you are planning an event at a library, there are guidelines on sales versus talks and book launches. Use the library as an opportunity to donate your books for circulation. This makes for great press and self-promotion! In most instances, you can have books available to sign and give at no charge to new readers, but may not be allowed to charge for the books within the library.
You may choose other venues such as homes of friends and family who would like to host you. A book birthday party sounds fun to me!
To a book signing you need foremost: copies of your book. You will not need a ton, but try to have a few copies. The goal of book signings and events at first is to be SEEN, not necessarily to SELL. Don't order a hundred copies of your books.
You will need a table, table cloth, chair, copies of your books for display, pens, and a sign or poster with your name on it. Business cards or postcards with your book cover is a nice touch to give out. Some authors give out author swag, such as pens, bookmarks, and other novelties. I see it as usually a waste of money. The most important part, in my opinion, is bringing a friendly attitude.
Promote the heck out of your event, no matter how small. Even if nobody shows up, the promotion is getting your name out there. Use social media and local news outlets to brag. It is difficult for many of us indie authors to discard humility, but if we want to be read, we need to be noticed. It's part of the job, and your writing, that you have laboured and loved and poured your spirit into, deserves to be read. You deserve it.