Yes, you do.
We all have to do things we don’t enjoy. Personally, I loathe the thought of personal appearances. I’m quite happy being a curmudgeonly hermit. It’s very safe here in my secret mountain lair. But sometimes an invitation comes my way – and I know I have to say yes.
Public appearances and events really don’t hurt that much. They can be tedious, and usually the amount of time spent in preparation usurps the event itself. So why do them? Well, unless you’re famous – or extremely eccentric – you sort of “have” to.
As a member of any community, artists – writers included – have a responsibility to promote the arts. Decline, and you’ll get a reputation as a snob, even if you’re not. Besides, isn’t a few hours of inconvenience a fair trade for free publicity?
To be honest, I wrote most of this post while I was at the event in which I’m pictured above. I figured if painters paint at exhibits, and sculptures sculpt, then why shouldn’t I write? Besides, the only person who spoke to me wanted to know where the bathroom was. In case you’re wondering, that still remains the number one most asked question at my book events.
Now, now, don’t get all discouraged. Face time is important. Two people came to my table and said “Wow, that’s a lot of books.” Oddly, they didn’t take any book marks, but that’s okay. Two more people now know about my books. That’s two more than when I walked into the place.
Then it came my turn to read – up on stage. The place was packed – probably with a couple hundred people. Someone took my picture – possibly for the paper – I don’t know. I do know that I got video of my reading, which I can use on my web site and my YouTube channel. This kind of opportunity truly is invaluable.
While no one purchased a book, or even spoke with me, being there was important. The public seems to suspend some sort of ‘shroud of mystery’ over authors. When they see you in the flesh, that gives them a sense of tangibility. So no, the event didn’t put money in my pocket, and there’s a good possibility I’ll never know what the ROI actually is since most everything authors do has cumulative results.
Let’s recap. The costs: a few hours gathering my wares, choosing a passage to read, stressing out, and getting “dolled up.” I drove there, I sat there, and I read. The benefits: all eight of my books out on a table for hundreds of people to see; my name in the program; an opportunity to read to a captive audience; a video of my reading; a photograph for publicity and whatever else comes of it.
I’d say that’s a pretty good trade. Wouldn’t you?
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K.S. Brooks is an award-winning author and photographer, and Co-Administrator of Indies Unlimited. For more information, please see the IU Bio page and her web site: http://www.ksbrooks.com/[subscribe2]