Okay, I have to go on record with this one. We spent the day ( a very successful day) at the South Carolina Book Festival in Columbia, SC.
For the entire day we had a steady stream of customers in our booth. There was not a time at any point during the day that we were not selling a book. It was tremendous. Or as our cute little waitress at Longhorn said, it was “grand.”
So what could possibly be wrong with this? Well, it’s other writers. I would like to point out a few simple guidelines or ettiquette rules to consider if you are a writer heading out to an event.
1. If you are an aspiring author and you want to meet with a publisher, contact them prior to the event and set an appointment. If a publisher is at an event they are probably there to sell books. When you walk up unannounced and go into your whole sales pitch for your book it is distracting and honestly it is very rude for those who are there to shop or who have made appointments.
At Echelon we do work on a referral system and we do tell you to meet us at events and we mean it, but there is a proper way to do it. Put together a very small packet, honestly I am good with a business card with contact info and a one or two line brief about your story. Drop it off and move on. If a publishing rep or author is trying to tansact business GO AWAY. Do not stand their and contiue talking. Chances ar they won’t be rude to you, but don’t make them tell you to go away.
2. If you are a writer and you have a friend who is being featured at an event or a book signing, do NOT monopolize that author’s time. When an author goes to an event they have probably paid to be there and their main goal is to sell books. If you stand at the front of the booth constantly talking to the author who is trying to sell books you are inhibiting their ability to effectively sell books and give the readers and actual customers the attention they deserve. If you DO stop to talk and feel the need to chat, at least make it worth the author’s while and BUY THEIR BOOK!
This has become a major peeve of mine and I see it almost every event I go to. If you have no intention of buying a book, MOVE ON and give the real customers some room. If you want to chat with an old friend, call them on the phone or take them to lunch. Don’t rob them of the opportunity to increase their sales and recoup the money they have invested to be at an event.
3. Support your fellow authors. You know what it is like. If you have books to sell, you know how valuable time is. If you want someone to buy your book you have got to be willing to buy their book. Don’t make excuses. Either buy it, or move on. Period
4. Finally. When you go to visit a friend at an event, book signing, festival, whatever, DO NOT slip your promo material onto their table. If you did not pay for that space, it is NOT your space to promote in. At almost EVERY event I go to I throw away dozens of pieces of material that authors who have come to see a friend or even authors who have come to give me submission materials have left behind with hopes that they can get some free promo exposure.
I’m telling you, if you tell me you want to submit and then infiltrate the space paid for by or for my authors, to try and promote your other works, I will NOT publish you. I will also not like you.
These are just common sense, and yet more times than not this is what happens. Please be courteous to the rights and opportunities of your friends and fellow authors.
Okay, I am done. I apologize for this rant, but after today, I really felt this needed to be said. Want to buy books? Come and see us. Want to look at our books and see if maybe you might be interestd in something, come on over. Want to chat and catch up with someone you have not called in a year. Do it on Monday after the event.
I love to meet authors, but not at the expense of sales and my authors’ rights.
Karen Syed…wearing her publisher hat…