As many of you know, from June this year I started doing a range of in-person events. From local markets, to mini cons, to school visits – I’ve got a whole lot lined up. At the outset, my goals were sales, marketing, and generally building awareness of me, as an author / artist. The sales have been a great boost, but the auxilliary benefits easily outweigh the (small) financial benefits.
A quick note on sales
At every event, I have sold something. At some events, I have made a profit, at others a loss, and some I’ve broken even. Overall though, I have made a profit over this year’s events (which is sales, minus cost of printing, petrol and any event fees). A profit is nice, as it contributes towards my business costs, but as long as I don’t make a loss – I’m happy.
Building word of mouth advertising
In conjunction with my social media presence and my webiste / blog, I am beginning to meet people who have had my books recommended to them. One of my primary goals with attending events was precisely this, so it’s great to see this happening in a mere three months! At live events, I have the opporuntity to truly connect with people (whether they buy my books or not) which contributes to word-of-mouth generation. Word of mouth is a powerful way to advertise, because we tend to trust recommendations from people we trust – it just makes sense. (Forbes has an article of WoM here).
Building brand awareness
Similar to the above, I am starting to meet people who recognise me as an author, or specifically as ‘Zee the author’ which, apart from being really, super exciting, shows how quickly brand awareness can begin to occur. My profile photo on all social media platforms is a clear representation of myself, and helps with recognition.
Creating new opportunities
It was from a library-run event that I was offered to be a part of ArtWeek Auckland, a massive arts event held in our city. I also developed connections with teachers and art centres, and have learned about other events worth attending. By networking with other people at these events I have been privy to wonderful opportunities, on a personal and career level.
Another benefit is learning who is interested in your work, why they’re drawn to it, and what makes them buy. I’ve found that most of my books have been bought by grandparents, aunts or uncles who have bought the books as gifts – but then started reading them and realised they liked it, too! This gives me a good idea of my buyers (adults) and my readers (adults and children). Most of the children that have been interested have been in the 9-13 year old range.
The warm fuzzies
It is incredibly motivating and heart-warming to watch people’s faces light up in wonder as they read some of my work, or flick through my picture books / colouring books; to have previous buyers come up to me and rave about how much they loved my work, and to hear people exclaim how beautiful and professional the books look – and you published yourself? Wow! I also get to share my journey with other writers and creatives, meet some wonderful people, and inspire young writers that this whole writer thing is posisble.
And if that hasn’t convinced you, I don’t know what will!