All Things Writing

Let's all go to the CON, author show, etc. And a review of a Golden Toilet.

August 29, 2020 Bryan the Writer Season 1 Episode 23
All Things Writing
Let's all go to the CON, author show, etc. And a review of a Golden Toilet.
Chapters
All Things Writing
Let's all go to the CON, author show, etc. And a review of a Golden Toilet.
Aug 29, 2020 Season 1 Episode 23
Bryan the Writer

So you’ve written the greatest book, the cover looks great, the editing is top-notch, and you’ve posted it to Amazon, drafted 2 digital, or wherever. Now what? Rest on your laurels and let that sweet, sweet, author cash flow in, right? Well, no.

The convention circuit is something that you can do which puts you into direct contact with your readers. I would highly encourage every author who is looking for a way to meet individual readers in the real world to consider this route.

https://www.buymeacoffee.com/BryantheWriter

I can highly recommend attending Scares That Care. Every year we have an amazing group of people gathered to talk about scary stuff and we raise a bunch of money for an amazing cause. Check them out here! https://scaresthatcare.org/

Recently I finished reading a book entitled “The Golden Toilet; Stop Flushing Your Marketing Budget into Your Website and Build a System That Grows Your Business” by Steve Brown. This a marketing book. I usually don’t review non-fiction books, but here goes.

Well written, and delightfully unapologetic in word choice, I found a real connection with the way the information is laid out.

The thing I really appreciate is that Steve is not just telling you to buy his product. As a matter of fact, he actually talks about resources and ways of doing things which are not only free, but also findable in your local library. He is truly sticking to the old adage that you should only sell 20% of the time and then use the rest of your time to provide something useful. Which strongly suggests to me he is the real deal and not some guy who only talks about something rather than actually applying it.

The book also offers plenty of other free resources from his website which will help you put into practice what he is talking about in the book and that is something I can totally get on board with.

I really enjoyed reading the Golden Toilet and I really hope you will too. Find it here. https://www.roionline.com/ or https://www.amazon.com/Golden-Toilet-Flushing-Marketing-Business-ebook/dp/B082VKW99Y Check it out. It may not completely fit your situation, but take what you can from it and you can adapt it to make it your own.

Safe to say that I highly recommend this book. Quick read and well worth the time. But that is not just enough for All Things Writing, ladies and gents. Nope, I want to take this book review one step farther. I want to get Steve on next week’s show! Yep, Next Saturday, check out the show to hear me interview Mr. Steve Brown of ROI. I am going to press him on marketing for the indie author. Actually, just based on my interactions with him and reading his book, I suspect it should be a fun interview and I am really looking forward to it.

So that’s it for this week on all things writing. Thank you for joining me, this is Bryan the writer signing off.

https://www.buymeacoffee.com/BryantheWriter 



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Show Notes Transcript

So you’ve written the greatest book, the cover looks great, the editing is top-notch, and you’ve posted it to Amazon, drafted 2 digital, or wherever. Now what? Rest on your laurels and let that sweet, sweet, author cash flow in, right? Well, no.

The convention circuit is something that you can do which puts you into direct contact with your readers. I would highly encourage every author who is looking for a way to meet individual readers in the real world to consider this route.

https://www.buymeacoffee.com/BryantheWriter

I can highly recommend attending Scares That Care. Every year we have an amazing group of people gathered to talk about scary stuff and we raise a bunch of money for an amazing cause. Check them out here! https://scaresthatcare.org/

Recently I finished reading a book entitled “The Golden Toilet; Stop Flushing Your Marketing Budget into Your Website and Build a System That Grows Your Business” by Steve Brown. This a marketing book. I usually don’t review non-fiction books, but here goes.

Well written, and delightfully unapologetic in word choice, I found a real connection with the way the information is laid out.

The thing I really appreciate is that Steve is not just telling you to buy his product. As a matter of fact, he actually talks about resources and ways of doing things which are not only free, but also findable in your local library. He is truly sticking to the old adage that you should only sell 20% of the time and then use the rest of your time to provide something useful. Which strongly suggests to me he is the real deal and not some guy who only talks about something rather than actually applying it.

The book also offers plenty of other free resources from his website which will help you put into practice what he is talking about in the book and that is something I can totally get on board with.

I really enjoyed reading the Golden Toilet and I really hope you will too. Find it here. https://www.roionline.com/ or https://www.amazon.com/Golden-Toilet-Flushing-Marketing-Business-ebook/dp/B082VKW99Y Check it out. It may not completely fit your situation, but take what you can from it and you can adapt it to make it your own.

Safe to say that I highly recommend this book. Quick read and well worth the time. But that is not just enough for All Things Writing, ladies and gents. Nope, I want to take this book review one step farther. I want to get Steve on next week’s show! Yep, Next Saturday, check out the show to hear me interview Mr. Steve Brown of ROI. I am going to press him on marketing for the indie author. Actually, just based on my interactions with him and reading his book, I suspect it should be a fun interview and I am really looking forward to it.

So that’s it for this week on all things writing. Thank you for joining me, this is Bryan the writer signing off.

https://www.buymeacoffee.com/BryantheWriter 



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Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase, I may receive a commission at no extra cost to you.

Support the show (http://paypal.me/BryanNowak)

Welcome to podcast 23, I am your host Bryan the writer. I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for joining me today. This week we’re going to talk about shows. And what I mean is that we are going to talk about the conventions that authors go to sell their books. We will talk about why you should consider doing these conventions, how to prepare for them, and what to do when you get there.

Of course, I need to give a shout out to my supporters. Thank you so much. If you haven’t considered being a show supporter, I urge you to do so. In the upper right-hand corner of the podcast webpage you will see a heart and all you have to do is click on that heart and make a donation. You can also go to the buy me a coffee link in the show notes and that will bring you to my page where you can donate to my cause. Or go to Buy me a coffee.com and search for Bryan the Writer. I will be the top one. 

So you’ve written the greatest book, the cover looks great, the editing is top-notch, and you’ve posted it to Amazon, drafted 2 digital, or wherever. Now what? Rest on your laurels and let that sweet, sweet, author cash flow in, right? Well, no.

The convention circuit is something that you can do which puts you into direct contact with your readers. I would highly encourage every author who is looking for a way to meet individual readers in the real world to consider this route. And I know, the issue is that you are an introvert and people are scary. But, I promise you that if you do it right, this will be something you can accomplish.

Covid has really cut back on the convention circuit this year, but I am hopeful we will back on track for next year. So, now is a great time to prepare. However, it’s not as simple as throwing your books in the back of your car and heading over to where of the event is. A little bit of planning can ensure you have a successful show and I am going to help you do it up right.

Before you even registered for an event where you are going to showcase your attempt at the Great American Novel, you have to consider why you want to do this in the first place. I would strongly urge the first-time author not to immediately run out and sign up for a show. Instead, there’s tremendous value in attending a couple of these events and seeing how others do it. Or, as another possibility, link up with people in your genre and work their organizational booth. I cut my teeth on shows by working the HWA-VA booth at Scares that Care charity weekend.

At any rate, bring a notebook and spend a little time on the customer side of the table. Don’t be intimidated, by the flashy signs and the fully decorated tables. You really, as a new author, won’t have any of those things and you are just in the fact-finding stage anyway.

There is a huge difference between selling books online and selling them at conventions where your meeting readers face-to-face. I’m not one of those people that shies away from conventions, actually I love them. I get to meet who is reading the books, talk to them one on one, and make new fans one handshake at a time. To me this is critically important.

I do say that it is different when you are sitting on the seller side of the table. When you are on the seller side of the table, there is space between you and the buyer. For those of you that are introverts, you can take some solace in the fact that the interaction with your customer takes place over about a 4 foot span of separation. So if you’re one of those people that says to themselves, I could never do a show because I would have to talk to people, it’s probably not as bad as you think. I would say go ahead, give it a try.

Before you even start deciding what shows you want to do, consider what your overall cost is going to be. In essence, how much will you be willing to spend. Another example of this is that you have to consider how much it’s going to cost to get you to the show in the first place. I’ve done shows all over New England. It’s essentially in my driving distance. However, that calculation gets skewed greatly when I have to add a hotel room.

There are other considerations such as how much I’m paying for food.

There’s a phrase you’ll hear show exhibitors use called, “making table”. What they mean is that’s the point where they’ve essentially paid for their cost to be at the show. You have to consider in the equation your entry fee, hotel cost, food cost, and anything you may be buying which specifically relates to the show. And then there is the cost of materials for the things that you’re going to sell.

Another way to think about it is this way. Let’s say or entrance fee is $100, you’re not staying in a hotel, lunch is going to cost you $11, and the cost of the materials that you’re going to sell is $15. The total for you to be in the show is $126.

To keep the math easy, let’s say you sell your product for $10. So, you know that you have to sell 13 of those items to make table. I promise you this is as complicated as any of the math gets today. While there are tons of decisions to be made as to what to consider in your overall calculation, it’s important to do some sort of calculation so you have some idea of when you’re making a profit.

When I look at making table, I also don’t consider things like the cost of things like advertising since generally the con does that for us. I also don’t consider things like signage since I use my signs over and over again. The expense of the signs gets farmed out across many years.

I’m also fairly lenient on how much money I’ll consider in the equation for things like food. Generally speaking I’m going to spend at least some of my money on food for weekend. There are also ways to make sure I’m not spending a ton of money, like bringing my own food with me. There is a convention center in Williamsburg, Virginia where I always stop at the local grocery store and buy everything I need and keep it in my room. It ends up saving me a ton of money. Granted, I’m living on microwave burritos all weekend, but it works.

So let’s say for arguments sake you’ve done your calculations and you know that you can sell enough of your product that is show to make it worth your time. Is that really the only consideration about whether you should attend the show or not?

I argue it is not. Dear listener, what happens if it is a new show? You are going to have no idea how much you’re going to sell, how much foot traffic there is, or even the willingness of the attendance to buy. On that last point, there are ways to make people more eager to buy your books and I’m in a get to that in a minute.

Part of what you’re doing when you go to show is getting to know the other vendors. There are lifelong friendships that are built at the shows, since your meeting people that run the same con circuits as you. There are some people that I consider friends who I only see once a year.

The entire time you’re at a show, you are in fact finding mode. You’re looking at things like what’s the best way to display my materials, one of the coolest signs, what’s the best way to get people to come here booth, and many other aspects that go into offering your materials in the show.

So, the million-dollar question is this, “how do I sell books?”

The answer is simple, be yourself. Or at least, a version of yourself. The people that come up to your booth want to meet you. Or at least, they want to meet the author version of you. If you’re having problems with your gout that day, they don’t need to know that. They want to know about your books. Things like how long it took you to write them, what was the drive for creating the main character, and generally anything about the books that you want to tell them.

Another thing to keep in mind that you have to have a table which is aesthetically pleasing. You don’t necessarily have to have a thousand decorations, but a nice tablecloth and some decent looking stands will go along way to presenting that professional appearance.

I have a small rat skeleton that I put on my table which tends to attract children. But what do children bring with them? They bring their parents. In most of the time it’s the parents you want to talk to in terms of what you’re selling. So don’t forget to have things available like candy, or small toys that are your giveaways. Don’t get crazy with buying a bunch of stuff to give away. Because remember, that eats into your total budget.

I’ve had people say to me that I must get tired of talking about my books. No, I never do. I’m the author, these are my children, I love to talk about my books. And at a show, that’s what I want to do.

It’s also important to remember to be friendly. I say hello to everyone. Whether or not they respond to my friendly hello, is beside the point. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve brought people into my table, or my organization’s table, by simply being friendly.

It’s also important to keep in mind that people walking by at these conventions generally do need a reason to come over and talk to you. So being relayed to talk with them and being friendly is important. I try to stay on my feet is much as possible. Sitting down makes you seem unfriendly and closed off. While standing up invites people to come over to you and start up a conversation. I can’t tell you how many people I’ve sold books to who were spouse or girlfriend or boyfriend of somebody was visiting the next table over. It works very well.

The most important reason I can think of to do a book show, or a convention is simply this. Have fun. No, you’re not going to make money every single show you do. However, you are gonna learn something every show you go to. Some are complete waste of time, but some are awesome.

Really good example of this is a show that I do which is not even book centric. It’s a wine festival. I’m the only author there. However, I sell extremely well, not because I necessarily fit with the program but because at the end of the day I’m something different. Which brings me to my next point.

Don’t be afraid to set yourself apart. I think a lot of times what generates more sales than anything else is standing out in the crowd. Definitely add something to your display which stands out.

A good example of this is a banner I have. It stands about 7 feet tall, it’s about 4 feet wide, and it’s very eye-catching. Seriously, it looks great. It attracts people, it gives them a focal point which brings them into my table.

For those of you who are not necessarily authors, I offer this advice. Go to the shows whenever you find them. Stop by the booths and talk to the authors, you may find your next great read. And for you, just like the authors, it’s all about having fun.

I’ve probably done 100 or so of the shows, and every time I do I learn something different. And no, not every lesson is how to do something. Sometimes I learn what not to do. But that’s the name of the game in life, learning something.

Before I scamper off today, I want to share with you a book review. Recently I finished reading a book entitled “The Golden Toilet; Stop Flushing Your Marketing Budget into Your Website and Build a System That Grows Your Business” by Steve Brown. This a marketing book. I usually don’t review non-fiction books, but here goes.

Well written, and delightfully unapologetic in word choice, I found a real connection with the way the information is laid out. I do think the author does tend to tell one too many stories before getting to the heart of the matter, but still I think it did make the points the author wanted to make. To be fair though, I like Army field manuals which get to the heart of the matter quickly and concisely.

Hey, being an author is hard, but marketing is harder. I have said it before on my program that the whole administrative tail of writing is really the harder part of all of this. Websites, marketing, appearances, social media are all really confusing when you look at it out of context and a lack of perspective.

Mr. Brown of ROI lays out a simple to follow method of how to succeed in an ever more difficult marketing environment. 

The book is laid out for businesses with employees greater than one, but don’t let that stop you. It is still well worth the read.

The thing I really appreciate is that Steve is not just telling you to buy his product. As a matter of fact, he actually talks about resources and ways of doing things which are not only free, but also findable in your local library. He is truly sticking to the old adage that you should only sell 20% of the time and then use the rest of your time to provide something useful. Which strongly suggests to me he is the real deal and not some guy who only talks about something rather than actually applying it.

The book also offers plenty of other free resources from his website which will help you put into practice what he is talking about in the book and that is something I can totally get on board with.

I really enjoyed reading the Golden Toilet and I really hope you will too. I have posted a link in the show notes to the book and his website. Check it out. It may not completely fit your situation, but take what you can from it and you can adapt it to make it your own.

Safe to say that I highly recommend this book. Quick read and well worth the time. But that is not just enough for All Things Writing, ladies and gents. Nope, I want to take this book review one step farther. I want to get Steve on next week’s show! Yep, Next Saturday, check out the show to hear me interview Mr. Steve Brown of ROI. I am going to press him on marketing for the indie author. Actually, just based on my interactions with him and reading his book, I suspect it should be a fun interview and I am really looking forward to it.

So that’s it for this week on all things writing. Thank you for joining me, this is Bryan the writer signing off.