Today I did some fun stuff. At least, I thought it was fun. I know we’ll come away with more readers from this experiment. I just hope I also am able to make the contacts I need to meet my goal. In honesty, I hit a ceiling a few months ago that I can’t break through. I haven’t figured out how to take my writing and business to the next level, and I guess I hoped foreign rights was that next bridge I needed to cross. I’m not 100% certain that’s the case, so I’ve been watching and learning while at BEA. There are two things we as indies have a harder time doing than traditional publishers: foreign rights and getting into bookstores.
More than anything, I feel like I need a mentor to help me figure out what’s next. I’m not finding that at BEA, but I’ll keep learning.
Anyway, before BEA opened, I took two loads of handouts to the VIP section and wall-papered the crap out of the area. I put out business cards, Julia Crane’s free ebook cards, mini-book packages and bookmarks and set them up on the tables roped off for VIPs. Once BEA opened its doors, I then went to the line outside the Harlequin (and other) exhibits – where readers were waiting for author signings – and I handed out more free stuff to the people in line. I tackled people in aisles and returned to my booth for a breather.
Then I devised more schemes. Which landed me in the VIP restroom sticking my business card (with booth number in bold) in the stalls and sink, handing out more to the new Harlequin line and generally, tackling more people.
Did it work? I’d say yes. After my first round of physical spamming, we received a bunch of folks from the VIP lounge visiting our booth. We had a lot of indie booksellers who wanted our books and a ton of librarians who were also interested in seeing our books in their libraries. We had more bloggers come by today, someone from Barnes and Noble and Random House, as well as a few more press folks, people from small presses and a bunch of folks whose badges I didn’t see. I also met a bunch of other indie writers, most in different stages of their career. They were all awesome to talk to. (Bloggers have the best business cards, too. Very creative and pretty.) And …
Literary agents. Oddly enough, there were a few on our aisle today. I spoke to three about foreign rights and found the responses pretty vexing. Not sure what to make of it, actually. Apparently there are special foreign rights agents that I have to track down who can answer my questions specifically. I’ve tried a few with no success, and I even spoke to reps from some of the big publishers about whether they do foreign rights for books they don’t publish. (The answer, btw, is no!)
Which leaves me trying to figure it out on my own. A couple of the agents I ran into today said they’d put me in contact with their foreign rights agents, so we’ll see if that works.
I think my goal is a bit more challenging than I expected. Is it the wrong goal to have? I don’t know, honestly. I did have one publisher from India approach me and who is interested in my work. I told him about my fans in India who have trouble getting my books. We’re going to talk more about our goals to see if they’re a fit.
My guerrilla marketing techniques worked pretty well today. We ended up getting a lot of exposure to the types of people who want to buy our books for their stores or libraries, which is wonderful. I handed out at least 300 minibooks and a slew of other cards/bookmarks today. Rachel Short met Tosca Reno (author of the Eat Clean diet) and spent some time talking to Ms. Reno’s team, which was awesome exposure for Rachel’s health/fitness books.
I learned a few more things today, such as how to spot the people I intend to tackle tomorrow. Thursday is the last day for BEA, and I want to make sure I spend it focused on my next target: the people with the red tags on their badges. I’ve got two to three decent leads but would like to gather as many as I can. They won’t see this 200-pound bowling ball coming!