Self -publishers are always on the look out for another way to promote their book and to get it in the hands of readers, so when the MRRW festival put the call out for Indi authors to have a stall, I put my hand up. Along for the ride was my Creative Cartel Publishing Co-founder Louisa Loder, author of Stormfate and the soon to be released Firesong.
The event ran across 3 days and boasted talks by two prolific authors – John Marsden and Isobelle Carmody. Many other published authors spoke about their new books, and The Margaret River Press announced winners of their internationally acclaimed short story competition.
So, as a self-published author, you probably want to know …
Was it worth it?
In short – yes and no. No, because I spent more money than I made (I’ll post some tips later explaining what to look out for here). Yes, because I networked, met two of my favourite writers (I’m now a fan for life), and learned a thing or two about what not to do for promoting my book.
How I made it worth it
- I had business cards printed and ready to hand out
- We had a competition for people to sign up to our mailing list
- I had multiple products for sale
- I made sure I ducked out to watch a few talks and spoke to my favourite authors
- My book is set in Margaret River, so I had a sign up which attracted the attention of buyers
- Local connections and new friends were made
What I should have confirmed before paying
- The cost of the stall was too high compared to the amount of direct traffic past my stall. When the event organisers explained how many people attended last year, I didn’t take into consideration offsite events and talks that would not relate to direct traffic.
- What the layout was like of where we were situated. For example, if there was a competitor near by (we had the local bookshop right next to us, which was great for networking but bad for sales)
- The area was two and a half hours away from my home so I booked accommodation, adding to the negative costs of the event. I could have asked for author discounts similar to the others that appeared.
- Asking for a spot speaking about the self-publishing industry. The event was heavily traditionally publisher orientated and I think if I could get up and speak on a panel, we may have had more traction.