It’s been just over a year since I unpacked the first copies of I Town from the printer. Last year I traveled all over the place with copies, giving them to libraries and offering them to readers at libraries and bookstores. The highlight of the year was the Ozark Regional Craft Fair where I sold more copies than I had at all the other events of 2014 combined.
This year I began again, doing what I knew to do, mainly library author days. The problem with library author events and signings is that most people don’t come to libraries to buy books. The problem with bookstore events is that bookstores have lots of books about lots of things and the people who visit the stores have as wide and varied interests. Each person who walks through the door is as like to be interested in horticulture as dystopia, and if they’re there about African violets, then they’re probably not going to want steampunk.
But if I hadn’t gone to the author event at the Joplin Public Library, I wouldn’t have met Ellie Ann. And if I hadn’t had all that time to sit and chat with her, she wouldn’t have suggested Comic Con. And I wouldn’t have had the wonderful opportunity in St Louis to sell meet more interested readers and sell more copies in a single weekend than I did all last year, including that great time at the craft fair.
So, sometimes in the course of the self-publishing journey, we can think we’re getting nowhere, that we’re wasting our time. But being out there, doing something, even if it’s not bringing immediate success, is still all we can do until we find the things that do work.
Later this month I’ll be at Jackson, Mississippi, for the Mississippi Comic Con. Next month it’s Houston for the <a href=”http://spacecitycomiccon.com/” />Space City Comic Con. I can’t wait to meet new potential readers, to watch their eyes light up as they hear the premise of I Town, and to see them walking away with a copies in their shopping bags.
Writing isn’t really the sole and lonely activity we like to say it is. It’s about one person transferring an idea to another person. It’s about sharing those innermost and exclusively private ideas in my head with other people. Having boxes of unread copies of I Town in the next room has been one of the hardest parts of this writing and publishing endeavor. Now that I’ve found a great way to get those copies into readers’ hands, I’m not holding back!
Jackson, Houston, Little Rock, Collinsville, Cincinnati, Tulsa . . .