Today was the first official day of Book Expo America. For those unfamiliar with my lofty goal at BEA, I want to leave BEA with either the means to sell – or a contract selling – off the foreign rights to my most popular books. I have thousands of fans in places like India who can’t get my books other than if I email them PDFs. Let me tell you – that’s A LOT of PDFs and emails! Day One goes down as a strike in that arena, though I learned some lessons. (BTW – why are lessons painful?)
Today in review. There were some positive developments, such as, I discovered that librarians, members of the press and bloggers are completely fascinated by indie paranormal writers. Completely!
I handed out books to about fifteen librarians, one of which does all the buying of young adult fiction for the Brooklyn libraries and who loved the look of Julia Crane’s books.
Several members of the press come by, some of whom run online magazines or host radio shows. Rachel Short is going to have a radio interview with one of them! And I spoke to someone who worked for BBC who said – if they have time this summer – he might contact me for an interview. Nothing set in stone, but the gears are turning. Another online magazine owner is going to put a small feature in his magazine. We had several stop and seem interested in both the paranormal and indie aspects.
And then there were the bloggers. We had about a dozen drop by for minibooks and books, some of which knew either my books or Julia’s already, which was awesome!
All-in-all, we handed out about 100 packets. I don’t know who else received them. Some folks had their name tags hidden while others were drive-bys I tackled while they were walking down aisles. Though not stellar, I am happy to have handed out what we did. That’s 100 more potential readers.
I also had one not-so-positive realization: My booth is located in a no-traffic zone. There were thousands and thousands of people throughout the Book Expo. Maybe 1-3% made it to my aisle. Which was strange, since we’re located in front of the Uptown Stage, where authors give speeches, and there are panels. By midday, I decided to be more aggressive with bringing attention to the books Julia Crane, Rachel Short and I were displaying. I stood in aisles. I struck up conversations with random strangers. I stood in back of events in the Uptown Stage and – after events – handed out little packets that included minibooks, all our bookmarks and all our business cards.
Most importantly, I created a better plan for Day Two. I’m not going to sit in my booth on Day Two. I’m going guerrilla on this place. If I’ve learned anything in all my time as an indie, it’s that those who don’t adapt and don’t think creatively – don’t survive.
I fully intend to survive this strange world that is publishing.
Day Two, Guerrilla-Lizzy is coming for you.