I am not a motivational speaker by trade, nor do I post a bunch of frivolous false impressions of how rosy life is. For those who know me, I typically speak my mind.
I also do not like to dwell in the negative, which is why there are very few posts that I make that complain or put on the pretense of being a ‘victim of circumstance’. I usually don’t think it’s worth the time to complain when I can be doing something more productive.
However, after the weekend I just went through, this might be a good time to pause and let my readers and friends know about some of the struggles an author goes though, as this is definitely newsworthy, educational, and in a way, entertaining.
I just came back from the Eerie Frequency Expo in Niles, OH. Author and touring partner Rich Bottles Jr. accompanied me on the trip. Rich and I are both from West Virginia and the trip to Warren/Niles is over two hundred miles each way.
The Niles gig was the sixth and final stop on our Fall 2013 Tour. There were actually supposed to be seven stops, but the West Virginia Book Festival (our crown jewel event) was cancelled this year (and may be cancelled permanently) by the promoter – the Kanawha Public Library due to funding.
Now of the six events, another was cancelled (a Uniontown show), and the three prior events – all conventions – had practically zero attendance. Mind you, this was not just for our books, but zero attendance from the population in general.
I cannot begin to describe to you how discouraging it is to put your heart and soul into a product/book/etc. travel thousands of miles (over the course of a tour) and not have anyone show up. In all honesty, it screws with your head.
Although these are downers, I believe the icing on the cake was this past event. There were police raids at the event hotel on both nights of our stay, and last night ended with someone going through the balcony window in the room next to where I was staying. (See broken glass in room on upper right of picture.)
During the ordeal, I quite expected to see some damage to my truck, as there was fighting and carrying on by all sorts of crazies. This was, of course, at the hotel and not at the actual event venue.
So, now for the lesson…
I am not going to say that 2013 was a fantastic year for book sales or conventions – no it blew, in fact. It was disappointing for me, my touring friends, and our published authors at Burning Bulb Publishing. We are a small press, but one who believes in each other and in putting out the very best, most interesting books we can, for the best price we can. Ones that are edited nicely, typeset well, and have killer covers. We do that well.
As for the conventions (cons)… that’s a different story. I believe that the cons we have attended all had a couple things in common (and promoters, pay attention):
- They were marketed well to the VENDORS and not to the general public
- They CHARGED the general public (in addition to the vendors) for admission to the venue
- They were in locations that people WHO READ were not
For this, I take 100% responsibility for making poor choices in the cons I picked. I chose locations within a three-hour drive versus biting the bullet and going to where the cons are properly marketed and draw in huge crowds.
It would be very easy to throw in the towel, especially after this last run, where we had lower-then-average sales at the past four of six con-stops, however… despite the discouragement and the hardship, Burning Bulb will:
- Release Boston Posh by Wol-vriey in December 2013
- Release Darkened Hills 4 (official title Darkened Souls) by your’s truly in December 2013
- Release St. Albans Fire (a new erotic thriller) by your’s truly in Spring 2014
- Release The Tailsman comic by your’s truly, Rich Bottles Jr., and Stuart Brown in Summer 2014
- Only attend cons that have a track record of decent attendance and customer/fan interaction
This is my commitment to Burning Bulb’s future and to our writers and fans. You deserve the best and we will deliver.
Never let bad venues or low turnout destroy your dreams. Adjust and come back to the ring swinging!