I had an interesting experience recently which is worth sharing, so here is my report:
In June, someone at my publisher sent a list of the fall regional trade shows to authors with a new book out or ARC available for one coming soon. Would we like to participate in a show, sitting at the Ingram booth? Turned out there was one in October in New Jersey, reasonable driving distance, so I said yes. I didn’t know what to expect, but why not?
It was in a large hotel in Somerset (a Doubletree), with restaurants, meeting rooms for the booksellers and an exhibit hall. That looked quite familiar to anyone who has been to Malice or Bouchercon, only this time it was the booksellers doing the browsing. The exhibitors were the publishers and wholesalers introducing new fall books. My badge was waiting for me, there was a big stack of ARC’s for Brooklyn Secrets and the friendly Ingram rep encouraged me to talk to anyone who walked by and not to wait for them to come to me. I said “Do you want a book?” About 98% of them did! They wanted them signed, they wanted to know about the series, they were happy to have eye-catching post cards about the other books, they were not put off by ARCS. (They are booksellers; of course they weren’t.) We chatted about where they were from, I met someone whose boss I had recently interviewed for an MWA/NY project, I met someone from the bookstore nearest my home, I met someone from a bookstore in a Delaware beach town who invited me to come do a program at her store!
In other words, I was out making friends for my books. Many ARCS were given out and now many booksellers know me and my books and perhaps will remember when it comes time to order stock and make recommendations to customers. It was easy and it was fun. Unless you really, really hate talking to strangers, I definitely recommend saying yes if have the opportunity.
(PS – these are not photos of the actual event. I need to get better at remembering to do that.)