Wednesday, October 7, 2015

IWSG for October 2015

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It's a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

Last weekend, I attended St. Louis' longest running science fiction/fantasy convention, Archon. In its 39th year, attendance looked pretty strong, and the vendors hall was busy. In 2014, I shared a table with another publisher, and we sold close to a 100 books together.

It was my most awesomest event EVER.

So this year, I got my own table next to my publisher buddy, and I brought plenty of stock. On Friday, I nearly tripled my sales compared to last year's Friday. Saturday is the big day, and I was incredibly excited to, at the very least, match last year's Saturday sales.

At the end of Saturday, I wasn't even close to my goal.
The Dad REALLY looked like Agent Coulson!

Sunday was dead last year, and I was fortunate to have some people who said they'd be back to buy my books actually come back. In the end, my sales were down more than 20%. Not horrible, but my costs this year doubled.

I don't do this to make tons of money. I do it because I love it. At the same time, self publishing the very best, most professional book costs a lot. I rely on sales to help fund and offset the tremendous costs involved with putting out a quality product.

Once again, I find myself all full of doubts and wondering if this is the best use of my resources (mostly my time). I hope you're all not sick of my rollercoaster ride of emotions and insecurities. It seems after each event or con, I'm either flying high or feel low. This year, I don't think I hit any real highs at any events.

I have mixed emotions right now, and I'm planning for next year. I'm trying to figure out if the cost of going further away to new venues - and then having to pay for hotel stays - is even worth it. Going to these cons and shows are so much fun, and I love meeting new people. But I'm not meeting my financial goals to pay for my very expensive hobby.


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

It was still great exposure. There are probably people who downloaded your book instead of buying a copy. I wouldn't give up on it - just share a table again next year.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

I agree with Alex. Who knows how many people made a note of your book to buy later on? It sounds like you enjoy the experience overall and that definitely counts for something.

T. Powell Coltrin said...

Always keep putting yourself out there, write, publish, promote! I think you had fun last weekend right?

Crystal Collier said...

Sending love. I know how much that can hurt. I'm all for sharing a table. Always. Any way to cut costs is worth it! This is a cut throat business, eh?

L. Diane Wolfe said...

That's why I don't do a lot of signings or festivals anymore. Sometimes the cost isn't worth it. But if you handed out a ton of bookmarks and made some contacts, then it might lead to greater things down the road. It's all about planting seeds.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I know what you're feeling. I have an book fair think I'm going to later this month. I'm concerned about earning back in book sales what I paid for my space. I know it will be fun but I don't do this as a hobby. I still haven't been to a con. I really want to do that.
Susan Says

Jennifer Hawes said...

This is definitely a tricky business. If you're having fun and meeting fans and fellow authors, then I'd say stick with it:) It's all about the connections and getting your work out there!

Tamara Narayan said...

At least you've got a book and are out there selling it. Many authors don't get that far! Do you also sell e-books?

Jay Noel said...

Alex: My publisher buddy was ticked off this year, as they made him pay for electricity access when he hadn't requested it. So I will have to find a new friend to share a table with.

Madeline: It's overall a wonderful experience, but it's time away from the kids and family. And to bring them is super expensive too.

Anne Marie J. Schlueter said...

*cue Andy Grammer* Gotta keep your head up, ooohooh....

I'm so sorry that you walked away from the convention disappointed. But you never know what could arise (even financially wise!) from you being there...seeds are always being planted! I know that might be a pretty thin hope to cling to when deciding whether to continue...but, in all honestly, whatever you're called to do, God will provide for, you know? If He wants you there, He'll make a way ;)

*cue Avril Levigne* Keep holding onnnnnn...

Pat Dilloway said...

I do all my business online which keeps costs down.

Pat Hatt said...

The financial burden of it all is sure the one thing that can cause questions to arise. Can only do what we can do money wise

David P. King said...

Much of what you've said echoes my insecurities about going into self publishing. Then I was told that any venture worth pursuing will require an investment, time, money or otherwise. When you can, of course. Your books are awesome. Never stop believing in them. :)

Cherie Reich said...

I know what you mean. I've stopped going to conferences, conventions, and the like because they cost a lot of money and have too few monetary gains. Of course, going to things like that is awesome socially and for exposure, but it's hard to keep spending money on writing stuff when you aren't making any on writing to speak of.

Loni Townsend said...

At least you got to attend the event! That's a positive, right? Sorry you didn't get make as much as you'd hope, but maybe that appearance will get you word-of-mouth talk.

Southpaw HR Sinclair said...

Pros and cons there. Fun, but costly.

Julie Flanders said...

I'm sorry your sales weren't as good as you'd hoped. I can totally relate to your dilemma, I've decided to cut back on the book events as I am just not making enough money back on them.

Patricia Lynne said...

You have to weigh in sales that might happen after because people saw you there and took your card or wrote down your book titles and buy later. You have to decide if the exposure is worth the time and money.

dolorah said...

Doing anything creative is a roller coaster ride. You'd miss the highs (like the dad and his girls) if you didn't do it. Chalk it up to a working vacation.

Lexa Cain said...

You can't get anywhere if you don't try. And I'm certainly not sick of your roller-coaster rides when my own journey is more of a slog through a swamp. I admire your courage and your resolve to put out quality. Keep trying. That's the only way to succeed. :)

Anonymous said...

I'm at that point now, trying to figure out what events to go to that will maximize exposure without the huge cost. The cost of self-publishing is high enough for putting out a quality product. I have to believe that the exposure will make the event investment worth it.

Intangible Hearts said...

You are an amazing writer and your strength lies in colorful descriptions, elegant prose, wildly intense characters and exciting plots. If I was your mother, I'd say sit down and write some more because you are super talented!

Jay Noel said...

Thanks everyone!

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