As a writer we spend a lot of time alone with our keyboards. I recently had the chance to attend a festival and while my goal was to sell books, what I received was even more valuable. First, the connections I made prior to the festival by doing promotions for myself and other participants by reposting and engaging with the other attendees helped me to be seen on other Facebook pages while sharing my page with others. Part of promoting ourselves requires us to reach out to others and share our space. In my case, the Fish and Farm Festival was a local event which I wanted to promote not just because I was going to be there, but because of the work these folks have been doing to help restore our town.
The second thing I received was the chance to get to know my fellow Pamlico Writers’ group member, friend, and the lady who has taken on the task of event programming, Mandy Monath. When we’re at a meeting or event there are the demands and expectations of other people and as leaders of PWG it is up to us to made sure everything is done, having a few minutes to talk candidly and get to know each other was a real boon. We were able to share personal information as well as make plans for upcoming events. Taking a few minutes to really get to know your fellow authors, group members, and even readers is a luxury few of us take time to enjoy.
Thirdly, meeting readers and writers and being able to help them discover something they need or would enjoy even if it’s not your book. Having a writer-friend come out just to buy your book and be able to introduce her to your other writer-friend. Sharing information and learning from each other, taking the time to listen as well as impart.
Over the years of engaging with other writers I’ve discovered that everyone has something to share and no matter where we are on the scale we need to stop and listen because things are changing too quickly to believe that even as an experienced author we have all the answers. I have learned as much from a new writers as I have from a seasoned author.
My advice, such as it is, if you have the opportunity to attend an event make the most of it and remember selling books is only a small part of what it’s about. Being an author, especially an indie author is about building a strong foundation–make connections and friends, get your name out there–these are all important parts of the process. Like building a house, we first have to dig down and place footers, pour a foundation, we need to start strong in order to build a viable author career.