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(NPR)   Brand new writer holds a book signing for her just-published novel and only 2 people show up. Tweets about it. And receives feedback from other authors who've experienced the same thing. You may even have heard of some of them   (npr.org) divider line
    More: Spiffy, Margaret Atwood, Chelsea Banning's first official book, Science fiction, The Handmaid's Tale, Novel, Arthur C. Clarke Award, Stephen King, Writer  
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7184 clicks; posted to Main » and Entertainment » on 06 Dec 2022 at 9:50 AM (8 weeks ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook



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2022-12-06 9:51:30 AM  
that's a rookie move.   If she really wants to sell her book, get it banned from a local school library.
 
2022-12-06 9:53:37 AM  
This thread would be legendary if only two people commented.
 
2022-12-06 9:53:51 AM  
wompampsupport.azureedge.netView Full Size


Clearly the solution to her problem is more masturbation
 
2022-12-06 9:54:29 AM  

Stud Gerbil: that's a rookie move.   If she really wants to sell her book, get it banned from a local school library.


Hire a Drag Queen to read it at the library.
 
2022-12-06 9:54:33 AM  

Stud Gerbil: that's a rookie move.   If she really wants to sell her book, get it banned from a local school library.


As a librarian whose last name is "Banning" she's already halfway there.
 
2022-12-06 9:55:35 AM  
If 40 people really said they were going to show up I'd be miffed too.
 
2022-12-06 9:59:09 AM  
Neil is King of Tumblr for a reason. And Will is it's Prince.
 
2022-12-06 9:59:40 AM  
Mostly successful authors don't see other authors as competition, but compatriots taking the same journey with different stops.
 
2022-12-06 9:59:57 AM  
Honestly, the combination of self-publishing and web marketing has to have been brutal for authors trying to break in. It may make it easier, but you're competing with everyone else who realized that.

There's been a local author posting almost daily on Nextdoor about her book signings, release dates, etc. No one so much as likes that post. You genuinely have to feel bad for the level of effort made vs the gains.

Lastly, no one cares about a book signing unless you're a prominent author already. It's a publicity stop for an initial PR tour typically - not a great springboard for a new author unfortunately.
 
2022-12-06 10:01:02 AM  

Marcos P: If 40 people really said they were going to show up I'd be miffed too.


I had a friend who was super-pissed I didn't show up for his birthday party at a bar, on a Thursday night.  Yes, I said I'd go and no, I did not go.  I was tired, anxiety was getting the better of me, it was far from my home, and I just didn't want to, but I should have.  I was trying to be nice and ended up hurting his feelings.  Ended up losing our friendship over it, which was far more him than me, but it was still a shiatty thing to do.
 
db2
2022-12-06 10:03:06 AM  

SuburbanCowboy: Stud Gerbil: that's a rookie move.   If she really wants to sell her book, get it banned from a local school library.

Hire a Drag Queen to read it at the library.


And make sure it has a gay character in it.
 
2022-12-06 10:03:07 AM  

Marcos P: If 40 people really said they were going to show up I'd be miffed too.


That's the Facebook event effect, though. I think every one of those people says they're going out of some sort of obligation of support, and they figure "hey, there're 39 other people going, I won't be missed" and don't realize that all 40 people are thinking the same thing.

/ Happens to me all the time
// Or maybe my band just sucks
 
2022-12-06 10:05:52 AM  

Somaticasual: Honestly, the combination of self-publishing and web marketing has to have been brutal for authors trying to break in. It may make it easier, but you're competing with everyone else who realized that.

There's been a local author posting almost daily on Nextdoor about her book signings, release dates, etc. No one so much as likes that post. You genuinely have to feel bad for the level of effort made vs the gains.

Lastly, no one cares about a book signing unless you're a prominent author already. It's a publicity stop for an initial PR tour typically - not a great springboard for a new author unfortunately.



This has become true of social media marketing in general. There's so much out there that even big players can struggle to find engagement. The little guy has to be impossibly savvy to find audiences.
 
2022-12-06 10:07:41 AM  

foo monkey: Marcos P: If 40 people really said they were going to show up I'd be miffed too.

I had a friend who was super-pissed I didn't show up for his birthday party at a bar, on a Thursday night.  Yes, I said I'd go and no, I did not go.  I was tired, anxiety was getting the better of me, it was far from my home, and I just didn't want to, but I should have.  I was trying to be nice and ended up hurting his feelings.  Ended up losing our friendship over it, which was far more him than me, but it was still a shiatty thing to do.


It seems writers schedule events in quieter places at more reasonable times. The turnout is low, as are their expectations. Perhaps you could replace your lost friend with a struggling author.
 
2022-12-06 10:07:58 AM  

Marcos P: If 40 people really said they were going to show up I'd be miffed too.


Everybody always says they will show up, and then never do.   Same with every band everywhere.   Sturgill Simpson wrote a bit of lyrics about it.

Well some days you kill it and some days you just choke
Some days you blast off and some days you just smoke
Well now maybe I do and maybe I don't
Everybody says they'll be there but in the end y'all know they won't
 
zez
2022-12-06 10:08:08 AM  
ARTIE FUFKIN, POLYMER RECORDS
Youtube cv5FwzRBc_Y
 
2022-12-06 10:09:11 AM  

db2: SuburbanCowboy: Stud Gerbil: that's a rookie move.   If she really wants to sell her book, get it banned from a local school library.

Hire a Drag Queen to read it at the library.

And make sure it has a gay character in it.


She could always try "they hate the idea of a strong, successful female author" or "they would have showed up to my book signing if I was a man."
 
2022-12-06 10:10:04 AM  

NebTheWise: Marcos P: If 40 people really said they were going to show up I'd be miffed too.

That's the Facebook event effect, though. I think every one of those people says they're going out of some sort of obligation of support, and they figure "hey, there're 39 other people going, I won't be missed" and don't realize that all 40 people are thinking the same thing.

/ Happens to me all the time
// Or maybe my band just sucks


Keep a counter of the ladies showing up instead. At least if that number is high, you'll have a sausage fest audience.
 
2022-12-06 10:12:00 AM  
It's probably because she was born in Eagleton...

i.pinimg.comView Full Size
 
2022-12-06 10:12:03 AM  
I independently published my books and the CEO of the publishing company I worked with REALLY leaned on me to do in person signing events like this. Even after I pointed out articles like this to her--it was all about ✨ GETTING PICTURES FOR YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNTS ✨. I told her I would not be doing events like this and instead focusing on my Patreon.

I received similar trash advice about going to really expensive cons. Sure, it'd be nice and fun, but by the time I paid for travel, the hotel, food, printables for the booth, etc etc. I was like "Do you have any idea how many books I'd have to sell just to break even?"

Her response was, "Oh but ✨THE EXPOSURE✨

To which I sent her this.
s3.amazonaws.comView Full Size


Exposure is important, but publishing and marketing your own books is an expensive, soul-draining slog, and it feels like the industry just likes to vomit up these suggestions and totally ignore things like growing your fan base digitally on platforms like Twitch, Patreon, and Discord. When I mentioned all these things everyone I talked to pretty much gave me surprised Pikachu face--their idea of digital marketing was just shiatposting on Twitter and Facebook.

I did it my way, and I'm doing all right.
 
2022-12-06 10:12:51 AM  
My takeaway from all this is that I could probably get Neil Gaiman to show up at my next birthday party if we let him do a reading.
 
2022-12-06 10:14:34 AM  

MillionDollarMo: Somaticasual: Honestly, the combination of self-publishing and web marketing has to have been brutal for authors trying to break in. It may make it easier, but you're competing with everyone else who realized that.

There's been a local author posting almost daily on Nextdoor about her book signings, release dates, etc. No one so much as likes that post. You genuinely have to feel bad for the level of effort made vs the gains.

Lastly, no one cares about a book signing unless you're a prominent author already. It's a publicity stop for an initial PR tour typically - not a great springboard for a new author unfortunately.


This has become true of social media marketing in general. There's so much out there that even big players can struggle to find engagement. The little guy has to be impossibly savvy to find audiences.


I've been thinking about that a lot as I "read" books.* There is so much material, and simultaneously so much to do, that there's just no way to get through it all.

I've definitely missed out on thousands of good stories due to the ocean of literature out there. It seems impossible to find stuff too; just dive in and hope it was worth it.

/* I've more or less been forced to switch to audiobooks to get any reading in while I work in the garage or outside. There isn't enough time in the day.
//I could definitely be one of those people who live for 500 years and not get bored.
 
2022-12-06 10:15:03 AM  

Boojum2k: Mostly successful authors don't see other authors as competition, but compatriots taking the same journey with different stops.


I read quite a bit and I have never excluded one author in favor of another. There are some I will read first, but never instead of the other.
 
2022-12-06 10:16:54 AM  

Ashraiel: I received similar trash advice about going to really expensive cons. Sure, it'd be nice and fun, but by the time I paid for travel, the hotel, food, printables for the booth, etc etc. I was like "Do you have any idea how many books I'd have to sell just to break even?"


You might be able to deduct some of those expenses from your taxes. If you are actively publishing it might be worth looking in to.
 
2022-12-06 10:17:37 AM  
My first thought upon seeing the photo is the author is British hot. Then I read she's in Ohio, and I don't have the conversion chart handy.
 
2022-12-06 10:21:31 AM  

Old_Chief_Scott: Ashraiel: I received similar trash advice about going to really expensive cons. Sure, it'd be nice and fun, but by the time I paid for travel, the hotel, food, printables for the booth, etc etc. I was like "Do you have any idea how many books I'd have to sell just to break even?"

You might be able to deduct some of those expenses from your taxes. If you are actively publishing it might be worth looking in to.


You're for sure right that it'd be a deduction, but I think any promotional adventure like that would have to be pretty judiciously considered--I can get so much more for the same amount of investment on the digital side. I've not ruled it out, but I'm very aware that a lot of people just want free stuff at cons and I'd be trying to sell books while the big publishers are just handing out piles of free ones.

It was just frustrating to hear this lady go on about how important these pictures would be to my social media presense (and really, they're not) and not acknowledge the costs (and independently publishing is already an expensive venture, filled with lots and lots of people trying to take advantage of you).
 
2022-12-06 10:25:06 AM  
30 years ago I went to a local Border's Books for a booksigning of Here on Gilligan's Isle by Russell Johnson, who played the Professor on Gilligan's Island. I walked in the door and it was all set up for throngs of people, with a completely empty zig-zagging barricade line going back and forth in front of a table with Johnson sitting at it by himself. I was literally the only person there besides him.

He sat and watched me meander through the absurd emptiness of the roped-off line to get to him, where I shook  his hand and said "Nice to finally meet you, Professor." He was totally cool, and even signed my copy the way I asked him to: "To BG, thanks for letting me stay at your place while I was in town."

I got home and started to read the book, and in the first two pages he says "I hate it when people call me 'Professor'."
 
2022-12-06 10:25:34 AM  

Ashraiel: Old_Chief_Scott: Ashraiel: I received similar trash advice about going to really expensive cons. Sure, it'd be nice and fun, but by the time I paid for travel, the hotel, food, printables for the booth, etc etc. I was like "Do you have any idea how many books I'd have to sell just to break even?"

You might be able to deduct some of those expenses from your taxes. If you are actively publishing it might be worth looking in to.

You're for sure right that it'd be a deduction, but I think any promotional adventure like that would have to be pretty judiciously considered--I can get so much more for the same amount of investment on the digital side. I've not ruled it out, but I'm very aware that a lot of people just want free stuff at cons and I'd be trying to sell books while the big publishers are just handing out piles of free ones.

It was just frustrating to hear this lady go on about how important these pictures would be to my social media presense (and really, they're not) and not acknowledge the costs (and independently publishing is already an expensive venture, filled with lots and lots of people trying to take advantage of you).


There's a lot of us in the weekly writer's threads who'd love to know how you're doing your marketing, and what works best.
 
2022-12-06 10:28:53 AM  
Reminds me of a guy with a card table 20 years ago at a B. Dalton bookstore in the mall who was doing a book signing. Right at the entrance of the store.

Guy was like, "Hey! What kind of books do you like?" and subsequently kinda forced me into engaging him in conversation. I was currently reading some Gibson sci-fi, and the guy told me that his book was sci-fi and I should give it a try.

The guy immediately signed and personalized a copy and handed it to me and said I just needed to take it to the register. So I ended up buying this book which at this point was almost out of obligation more than interest or curiosity.

Never finished it. It was more religious than science fiction, and by chapter 2 these boys in the story were having a literal pissing contest with descriptions/tips on how to make urine streams shoot higher.

Years later I looked the book up again. I found that the author had passed away, and that nearly every single description of his book included a story about how he pulled the exact same routine at other book stores around the country. No matter what genre people said they loved, sci-fi, romance, adventure, mystery, etc., he'd claim that his book was that genre.

I gotta hand it to him, it worked to sell books. If I ever became an author, that is the level of hustle I'd engage in.

For the record, this is the book:

media-amazon.comView Full Size
 
2022-12-06 10:29:01 AM  

toraque: There's a lot of us in the weekly writer's threads who'd love to know how you're doing your marketing, and what works best.


I made a naive misstep and posted something about my first book coming out a few years ago and it got deleted by the mods and I was embarassed and have been gunshy about posting in the writer thread since :(  I could give it another try, though!
 
2022-12-06 10:30:29 AM  
I saw an author at a bookstore once sitting all alone like that.  Her book wasn't too much, so I bought it, had her sign it.

/It wasn't a good book, couldn't finish iat.
 
2022-12-06 10:31:05 AM  

Ashraiel: It was just frustrating to hear this lady go on about how important these pictures would be to my social media presense (and really, they're not)


If the goal is just photos for social media, you could stack up books on a table in your basement and pretend to be signing copies for your adoring fans (played by your friends).
 
2022-12-06 10:31:32 AM  

Claude Ballse: Reminds me of a guy with a card table 20 years ago at a B. Dalton bookstore in the mall who was doing a book signing. Right at the entrance of the store.

Guy was like, "Hey! What kind of books do you like?" and subsequently kinda forced me into engaging him in conversation. I was currently reading some Gibson sci-fi, and the guy told me that his book was sci-fi and I should give it a try.

The guy immediately signed and personalized a copy and handed it to me and said I just needed to take it to the register. So I ended up buying this book which at this point was almost out of obligation more than interest or curiosity.

Never finished it. It was more religious than science fiction, and by chapter 2 these boys in the story were having a literal pissing contest with descriptions/tips on how to make urine streams shoot higher.

Years later I looked the book up again. I found that the author had passed away, and that nearly every single description of his book included a story about how he pulled the exact same routine at other book stores around the country. No matter what genre people said they loved, sci-fi, romance, adventure, mystery, etc., he'd claim that his book was that genre.

I gotta hand it to him, it worked to sell books. If I ever became an author, that is the level of hustle I'd engage in.

For the record, this is the book:

[media-amazon.com image 306x475]


Everything about that book cover looks like it was generated by low quality AI.
 
2022-12-06 10:32:43 AM  

Ashraiel: ...--their idea of digital marketing was just shiatposting on Twitter and Facebook.
...


i would think those platforms are already gruesomely oversaturated. shiatposting is likely necessary but its a super low effort for a probable low return. i would think appearing on some sort of popular to moderately popular public access tv/youtube channel/podcast would be a better venue. you would at least give the impression that some curator picked you out of the crowd as worthy of attention.

/shiatposted on fark off and on for years
//not famous
 
2022-12-06 10:32:57 AM  

Barricaded Gunman: Ashraiel: It was just frustrating to hear this lady go on about how important these pictures would be to my social media presense (and really, they're not)

If the goal is just photos for social media, you could stack up books on a table in your basement and pretend to be signing copies for your adoring fans (played by your friends).


hahahahha I pointed out a similar thought to this lady and she was not impressed XD
 
2022-12-06 10:33:28 AM  

Ashraiel: I independently published my books and the CEO of the publishing company I worked with REALLY leaned on me to do in person signing events like this. Even after I pointed out articles like this to her--it was all about ✨ GETTING PICTURES FOR YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNTS ✨. I told her I would not be doing events like this and instead focusing on my Patreon.

I received similar trash advice about going to really expensive cons. Sure, it'd be nice and fun, but by the time I paid for travel, the hotel, food, printables for the booth, etc etc. I was like "Do you have any idea how many books I'd have to sell just to break even?"

Her response was, "Oh but ✨THE EXPOSURE✨

To which I sent her this.
[s3.amazonaws.com image 800x800]

Exposure is important, but publishing and marketing your own books is an expensive, soul-draining slog, and it feels like the industry just likes to vomit up these suggestions and totally ignore things like growing your fan base digitally on platforms like Twitch, Patreon, and Discord. When I mentioned all these things everyone I talked to pretty much gave me surprised Pikachu face--their idea of digital marketing was just shiatposting on Twitter and Facebook.

I did it my way, and I'm doing all right.


Popping down $125 for a weekend at a relevant niche interest con that's commutable distance is good for exposure. Brown bag your lunch. Whatever.

I have no idea what authors are thinking bringing a stack of books to a comic or pop culture con with 20k+ attendance. And the look on their face as everyone walks past their booth tells me they don't know either, because they seem surprised and defeated.

You're up at the Hunt Valley Inn, I'll let you pitch me. There's only fifty tables, i got time. shiat, I might even buy a book. You're at the Baltimore convention center, why? Who lied to you? Awkward to hear it might have been their publisher.
 
2022-12-06 10:34:21 AM  
Why would you hold a book signing for your first book? Talk about hubris.
 
2022-12-06 10:35:25 AM  
I only said I was going because I thought Gribes would be there.
 
2022-12-06 10:35:33 AM  

Chemlight Battery: Claude Ballse: Reminds me of a guy with a card table 20 years ago at a B. Dalton bookstore in the mall who was doing a book signing. Right at the entrance of the store.

Guy was like, "Hey! What kind of books do you like?" and subsequently kinda forced me into engaging him in conversation. I was currently reading some Gibson sci-fi, and the guy told me that his book was sci-fi and I should give it a try.

The guy immediately signed and personalized a copy and handed it to me and said I just needed to take it to the register. So I ended up buying this book which at this point was almost out of obligation more than interest or curiosity.

Never finished it. It was more religious than science fiction, and by chapter 2 these boys in the story were having a literal pissing contest with descriptions/tips on how to make urine streams shoot higher.

Years later I looked the book up again. I found that the author had passed away, and that nearly every single description of his book included a story about how he pulled the exact same routine at other book stores around the country. No matter what genre people said they loved, sci-fi, romance, adventure, mystery, etc., he'd claim that his book was that genre.

I gotta hand it to him, it worked to sell books. If I ever became an author, that is the level of hustle I'd engage in.

For the record, this is the book:

[media-amazon.com image 306x475]

Everything about that book cover looks like it was generated by low quality AI.


Holy shiat, his other book covers are even worse.

Fark user imageView Full Size
 
2022-12-06 10:36:19 AM  

Ashraiel: (and independently publishing is already an expensive venture, filled with lots and lots of people trying to take advantage of you).


Very much an industry of people selling the "author experience" instead of one enabling the distribution of books.
 
2022-12-06 10:37:53 AM  
She should have said she was an 8-year-old who invited his entire class to her birthday, and no one showed up.
 
2022-12-06 10:40:49 AM  
Fark user imageView Full Size


/was the book, "Her Life in Kenya"?
 
2022-12-06 10:44:50 AM  

asmodeus224: This thread would be legendary if only two people commented.


Then, after a few hours, a comedian who has videos of that would show a video with an amazingly relevant bit. Then the comments flood in.
 
2022-12-06 10:45:54 AM  
I used to do nature talks in a park campground. Attendance was usually 50 - 100 people. Occasionally I would get a dud night and have to do a presentation to 1 or 2 people. I liked the change. It was nice to make actual eye contact with the audience instead of the glazed-over look into the blur of the crowd that happens in large groups.
 
2022-12-06 10:46:56 AM  
Then, when her author eventat Pretty Good Books in Ashtabula, Ohio, had low turnout, Banning was at her breaking point.

I mean, it's not exactly a ringing endorsement.
 
2022-12-06 10:48:07 AM  

Ashraiel: toraque: There's a lot of us in the weekly writer's threads who'd love to know how you're doing your marketing, and what works best.

I made a naive misstep and posted something about my first book coming out a few years ago and it got deleted by the mods and I was embarassed and have been gunshy about posting in the writer thread since :(  I could give it another try, though!


Please do! I can promise that there's nothing you could possibly do or say that will be as embarrassing or awful as my weekly intro and headlines are.
 
2022-12-06 10:49:23 AM  
An author I follow told her she always tries to get a second author to sign with her. That way if turnout is bad at least you have someone to talk too.
 
2022-12-06 10:50:05 AM  

toraque: Ashraiel: Old_Chief_Scott: Ashraiel: I received similar trash advice about going to really expensive cons. Sure, it'd be nice and fun, but by the time I paid for travel, the hotel, food, printables for the booth, etc etc. I was like "Do you have any idea how many books I'd have to sell just to break even?"

You might be able to deduct some of those expenses from your taxes. If you are actively publishing it might be worth looking in to.

You're for sure right that it'd be a deduction, but I think any promotional adventure like that would have to be pretty judiciously considered--I can get so much more for the same amount of investment on the digital side. I've not ruled it out, but I'm very aware that a lot of people just want free stuff at cons and I'd be trying to sell books while the big publishers are just handing out piles of free ones.

It was just frustrating to hear this lady go on about how important these pictures would be to my social media presense (and really, they're not) and not acknowledge the costs (and independently publishing is already an expensive venture, filled with lots and lots of people trying to take advantage of you).

There's a lot of us in the weekly writer's threads who'd love to know how you're doing your marketing, and what works best.


Lottery tickets. Sincerely, the amount you could spend on self marketing versus what the return would be the better investment is scratcher tickets.

And while I sympathize for this author, book signings for a new release book for a first time author the only people who are going to ever potentially show up are family and or friends, and most of those aren't going to take time off of work if it's during the day. Nobody else knows who you are yet.
 
2022-12-06 10:50:14 AM  
"Wow, can't imagine such a thing happening." - original musician that isn't a rich person's child and doesn't sexually attract any promoters
 
2022-12-06 10:51:26 AM  

asmodeus224: This thread would be legendary if only two people commented.


Let's make it happen, reply if you agree.
 
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