If you haven’t noticed, I tend to use “shocking” titles to grab your attention. For newbies to the Wade Kelly speak, you may not be used to my sarcasm, but eventually you will get use to it. I am not a “book hater”, but I am a NONreader. I am the most illiterate author you will ever meet, and probably one of few authors who rarely read. I often tell people I NEVER read, but that is not true. I embellish. I rarely have time to read so when I DO read it is normally within my genre. (Check Goodreads for what I like.)
That said, coming to this “BOOKLOVERS” convention was interesting given the fact that I probably recognized 2% of the authors listed on the RT website (out of like 700 registered), and READ 1%. So… LOL… This convention was a different experience for me than it would be for people who READ the authors who attended.
Most of the time there were 2400+ people here. LOTS of panels to sit in on, sometimes as many as 9 at the same time. (I did not fact check. It could have been more.) The hotel was HUGE and getting to the designated areas for a panel was a hike. The elevators were odd and you could only push the floor number in the hall way, not on the elevator. If you pushed the wrong floor, you had to wait, get off, and try again.
I often felt lost as a tiny fish in an ocean for authors. It was crazy.
So, (and yes, I use this unnecessary word often,) as for the PROS of going to RT BOOKLOVERS CONVENTION:
1. Exposure. New authors need to get there name out there in the public eye somehow. What better way than to attend an event where there are potentially 2400 new readers? 90% of the attendees might be HET readers, I don’t know, but I think there are a large and growing number of LGBTQ readers. Swag, promo, and author appearances are a great way for people to SEE YOU. (SEE ME.) You never know who will pick up a pen and later talk about you to a friend or twenty. Exposure is important.
2. Exposure. –Same word, different take. The LGBTQ spectrum of the RWA (Romance Writers of America) is small. So small, they only recently (I think this year) included categories for LGBTQ books to be judged for their prestigious “RITA” awards. (Don’t quote me on this, I could be getting my facts wrong.) No one won, but at least the categories existed this time. It is the same for RT. As I was listening (because that is what I do) I learned that the LGBTQ community presence is larger than it has been and continues to grow. RT takes notice of this. So bringing in my “little fish” self and making the LGBTQ authors percentage grow by one makes a difference. Every vice counts. Some LGBTQ panels were so large that RT will have to give us bigger rooms next year. As we continue to support the community, exposure is larger and larger and makes a bigger impact for the future.
3. I learned some things sitting in on panels. A.) readers like longer books better. (*information from a self-pub panel given by the CEO of Smashwords.) Stats show books that are over 100k sell more then the others. YAY for me, you know I can’t write short. B.) Books priced at $1.99 hardly sell at all! .99 books do fine, but the KEY price is $2.99 or $3.99 (ebook). This doesn’t effect me right now, but this is good information for the future. C.) Readers like series! This is helpful to know because the Smashwords stats showed huge numbers for series books. I guess readers like a set of characters or a town/setting and want more about that place and people. Good for me to know. I need to write the 3rd book about Darian and my sequel to JOCK. And get more consistent about writing the follow-up stories. D.) Authors with shorter names do better. Wade Kelly is nice and short. E.) Contemporary Romance sells the most. YAY ME! I picked the right sub-genre.
*disclaimer… This all said, these stats the Smashwords guy gave were based on ALL books sold on his site. He did not give stats for LGBTQ books as a category.
Also… I learned to pay attention to what the readers WANT. If they like a character, not a good idea to kill them. OR, if they LOVE a character, it might be good to give that character his own book. OR in my case, two characters. Readers have been asking about a sequel to JOCK. I NEED TO LISTEN TO THEM! I am slated to write that sequel next year. It will happen. And maybe if I get some fun characters going, I could create a series. We shall see.
~ Be organized. Lay out a writing plan and stay focused on writing well. The length of time it takes to write a book doesn’t matter as much as the quality of writing.~
4. RT BOOKLOVER’S Convention is just that – a booklover’s convention. It is for the fans! There were loads of fans who wanted nothing more than to find their favorite authors and “fan girl” them. Kind of like when I went to an Orioles Fan Day at the Park and waited in line to get an autograph of a O’s pitcher. It is a special moment. Some come with books to sign and some only want a picture or a signed post card because they have the paperback at home or have it in a Kindle. This isn’t a place to SELL lots of books and make any money. It’s just not.
I sold 3 books. The majority of readers here right now are HET, and also since I am a little fish, few people know my name anyway. I need to plug away at writing and continue to get my face and name seen in the public. My fans will grow.
HUGE highlight that made me cry a little was meeting a fan who was bouncing up and down with excitement over meeting me. She took a picture so I hope she friends me on facebook. Kayla told me about a road trip she took with a friend, Brad, and he read JOCK while they drove. She said they all about died laughing (other people in car too.) and they enjoyed the book so much. I was extremely happy to meet her because it validated my decision to come to RT. I made one girl very happy!
It was actually more than one, but in that example I was talking about Kayla. I met a few people who were very happy I was there. This makes a difference.
I also learned (I think on a panel, idk,) that as an author I need to take care of the fans I have. I can’t get hung up on how to grow the fan base, where to sell more books, and what will help me become more known out there without first taking care and interacting with the people who already know who I am. Those readers who read and love my books matter. I need to blog or tweet or whatever I normally do in social media to let them know I’m alive and I’m still writing. This is partially why I started The Wade Brigade. I intend to interact there more than other places and post excerpts there that are not listed in other places. The Wade Brigade is a special group on Facebook for current fans of my writing. Come on over and talk to me ;)
…..so what about the CONS?.......
1. The hotel is huge! The elevators are weird. The beds are double bed size, not queen.
2. I didn’t know there was a 20% cut taken by RT for all books sold. There goes any profit! I was going to reconsider my asking price but I thought about it too late. I decided to let it ride and see if I sold any. I am glad I left it alone because now at least I broke even. (As an author I still have to buy my books.) The 20% that RT took for a fee, took away any money I might have made. Note: I think someone else said they knew there was a fee, but I missed that in the e-mails. Not good. So read the fine print!
3. I was promised a ½ table….. wow. Half of a postage stamp is more like it. I think there were 3 authors in a six-foot spot with only about 18 inches wide of a table to stack everything, books included. This was the Indie Author side, the OTHER authors had about 3 times the price for the same entrance fee. Not fare RT.
4. Because of the size, I think, most attendees at the big book fair signing went to the “famous” author side first and the Indie Author side didn’t see traffic until 2 hours later. By the time people started trickling in, the event was more than half over. Sad.
I guess that is all I have to say… The tables were too small and the 20% cut seemed steep, but those are the only things I would say are negative.
Will I come next RT? I think so. Gregory Payne might want to come with me and I have a hard time saying no to Greg. It will be in Dallas. I will bring WAY LESS BOOKS! Way less. I am glad I didn’t fly for this one and learned things associated with driving 17 hours. (Also something I will not do again.) Max drive is 9 hours I think. I can handle 9. I’m driving to Chicago in October.)
I need to plan better and this experience gave me much to ponder and prepare for for next year. I recommend window panel adverts, and elevator ones! (Not sure on cost, but they were the best ones advertisement wise.)
Side note: I had 43 people sign up to try and win a free audiobook of JOCK, 19 of which wanted to be on the subscribe list! Whoot! For all you new subscribers-THANK YOU FOR FOLLOWING!!!!
The winner was Cricket McD.
And Tina S. won my gift basket full of swag, books, and other items related to JOCK.
I know this is Saturday at 6:45 and the evening is not done, but I'm going to a dance and a FAN mingle event. Those things will be fun I'm sure.
Not to mention I might see the really cute actors that were promoting their web series NECROLECTIC. I'm "Team Cas", btw. ;)
PS: Did I mention I LOVE my fans!!!
PS: Did I mention I LOVE my fans!!!