So I did have a really great time. But the thing is, I had to force myself to do it. Represent myself as an author allied with the library, who deserved to be there.
I have real issues with marketing my work. I’m so introverted and socially avoidant, I quail at the thought of putting myself or my work out there, even if it’s just online. God forbid actually in public in front of real people.
But you have to do it. No one’s going to read your books if they don’t know they’re there.
When my book was first published, I asked Alys, “How do you make yourself market your book?”
And she said, “You just have to do it. You just have to put yourself out there. It’s hard. But you just do it, and it gets easier.”
Well, I struggled and avoided it for a long time, but when I learned of Geek Fest, I thought, I have to be involved in this. I thought, Hey, why aren’t I on that panel?
So I talked to the organizers, some of my colleagues at Main Library, and said, “Hey, I want to be on that panel at Geek Fest.” And they said okay.
And it went well. And there are rewards too:
This is Bethany. She came up to me after the panel. I thought she was going to give me grief for trash-talking Laurel K. Hamilton. (An unpopular opinion.)
But no. She said, “I’m Bethany. I work with your husband. He gave me your book to read, and I loved it!”
Wow! My first time hearing from a fan out in the field. What an incredible moment. Isn’t this why we write at all? To reach people, to be heard? Thank you, Bethany!
“She said, “I just wanted you to know.” I offered her one of my cards with this website on it, and she said, “I have one, Sam gave it to me.” So, hi Bethany! Great to meet you! We talked about my follow-on book to Daughter of Atlas, which isn’t a straight sequel, but shows what happens elsewhere when Atlantis falls. Which Bethany said was what she was curious about in a sequel. So that was wildly encouraging.
They say that’s the way indie authors build their fan base, one reader at a time. The only way you can do that is by reaching out to them, both on and off-line.
So, if you are struggling with marketing your books, don’t be afraid. If I can do it, anyone can do it. Go ahead and shoulder yourself onto a panel at your local sci-fi con. You never know who you might meet.
Tomorrow is both Star Wars Day (May the Fourth be with you) and Free Comic Book Day. And to celebrate, New Orleans Public Library with have its third (I think) annual Geek Fest, a one-day mini-con of all things geek. There will be vendors, a cosplay fashion show and workshop, gaming, snacks, and more. The Best Buy Teen Center makerspace will be open for everyone to play.
I’ll be on the Science Fiction Writers panel at 11:00 AM with other local authors. The topic is , “Can sci-fi affect change in the real world?” What do you think?