I participated in the Kensington Day of the Book, my first outdoor festival of the season, this past weekend. It can be an iffy time for an outdoor festival, but the weather was perfect this year. I always enjoy book festivals because not only do I get to meet people who like to read books, I get to meet other authors.
I’m always interested to see what other authors are producing. I expect mainstream published books to look great, but I feel a bit sorry for the author if they only have one or two titles to sell. Knowing how little mainstream publishers pay in royalties and how much the booth space costs, I know those authors need to sell a lot of books to break even.
For this festival, my guess is that they had to sell between 25-30 books to break even. I only had to sell four books to cover my booth costs. I also had a lot more titles to offer. With this combination, I can make back my booth costs with one sale, and I did.
I’m more curious to see what the indie authors are doing, especially if they have multiple titles. This means they have been writing for some time, and hopefully, have learned some useful things about publishing and marketing. These are the authors who I try to talk to. I want to pick their brains for things that I might try.
It’s always interesting what I learn. Some authors don’t believe in doing e-book giveaways. Others have seen its benefit in boosting sales. Some authors only work in a single series while others write stand-alone books or in a variety of genres. Some publish hardbacks, and others only publish softcovers.
If I see a great cover on a book, I question the author about who designed it, and I get contact information.
I ask about other shows the authors attend and things they have done to promote their books.
I have been a published novelist since 1996 and an indie author since 2001, and I am still learning new things about the process. I hope that I always continue to do so.