Here I am, the lone wolf…er…author in one of my happy places—a small local Con. Surrounded by my Knight of Flame regalia, I’m ready to greet the horde of potential readers. I’m a newbie though, with only a small number of titles to my name. Still, I love to get out there and mix it up with fandom and authors.
Regardless of how awesome the cover and how friendly my smile, there is a sameness to the display, a lack of variety. Some readers will be drawn to Develor Quinteele’s intensity on the banner behind me, others not so much. And, before I’ve had a chance to talk about the story, to tell them it’s like King Arthur meets Agents of Shield, they’re gone. Poof. A missed opportunity.
I don’t like missed opportunities.
I’m writing, more titles are coming, but I cannot change the laws of physics or of time. For now, I’ve got what I got. But that doesn’t mean I have to suck it up and deal with those missed opportunities. Nuh-uh. Ain’t gonna do it.
I’m fortunate to count several local authors among my close friends. We trust each other. Our titles span several Fantasy readerships (YA, Contempory, Urban, Epic, Dark). And, most important of all, we enjoy spending time together talking about our craft with anyone who’ll listen. As it turns out, they like Cons.
See where this is going?
We banded together, growing a one-author army to three and displaying eight titles along with corresponding marketing swag instead of just mine. More genre variety equals more interest, more readers at the table, more chances to talk about our stories. And, yes, it leads to more sales. We (Maria DeVivo, Dora Machado, and I) know the bottom line is to match the reader with the right book at the right time. We are not in competition. There are plenty of readers to go around. We discuss and sell each other’s books with equal zeal. We want happy readers. Happy readers become fans. Happy readers write reviews. Happy readers talk about the really cool book they just read and about the time they met the author at the Con.
It’s all about scale. I did the same thing as a lone wolf author—talked, sold, created happy readers—but in much smaller numbers. By having a table with author partners, I sell on average three to four times as many books as going it alone. Again, variety piques interest, which sparks more visits to your table/booth, which delivers the chance to make a reader’s day. Take it.
To see this approach done to perfection on a much bigger scale, check out the WordFire Press booth at most major Cons.
While I’ve focused on generating more interest by partnering with authors, there are additional benefits to sitting at a Con for hours with a fellow creative individual. Think of the ideas, think of the potential for future joint-projects, think of the opportunity to have someone watch your table so you can go to the bathroom. Don’t underestimate the power of that last point. Whew!
In addition to building variety to attract interest, there are two key points to take away from this post. The author partnering approach will only work if we live by the number one rule in the Universe—don’t be a jerk. Be nice to everyone. There is no downside to being nice and a tremendous upside. The other is that we are not in competition. There are plenty of readers to go around. Let’s introduce them to our stories.