Saturday, March 24, 2012

Bookstores at Conferences and Conventions

Something that was too bad at Epicon was the bookstore. Unfortunately it was hidden away at the side of the banquet room. Barnes and Nobel brought a few of the authors' books. We'd been given instructions on what to do to get the bookstore to order you books. Though several of us followed the instructions to a T, our books weren't among those for sale.

My publisher brought copies of three of my books, but the bookstore wouldn't carry those, even though that was something that had been promised. At my publisher's instructions, I gave the books away to people I met.

To be perfectly frank, I've had books at Barnes and Noble, both at Epicons and when giving a talk--and guess what, I've never been paid for the books sold. So giving them away to people I know will read them is probably every bit as effective if not more.

To bring people into the bookstore, it seems to me it would've been smarter to have the store set up in the main room and then (this is a biggie) a sign in the lobby and outside the door advertising the book store and the fact that the authors were available for the book signing.

This has been a problem at every Epic I've been to except a couple. Sometime it absolutely can't be helped, but when it's possible, yes, non-con goers do visit.

I remember a writers conference I went to in Arizona once. The bookstore was in the patio area of a hotel. I sold a lot of books, one in each of my series, to one of the people staying a the hotel. She bought other people books too and was thrilled to have them autographed. Others also perused the books and purchased one or two.

On the other side, one of the conferences I'm involved with has its bookstore right in the same room as the conference--and that works well too. The bookstore is open and available every day of the conference. The attendees buy lots of books.

Back when we could check luggage on an airplane, I always took books to sell at conferences and conventions. I've quite doing it now because I'm sticking to two carry-ons.

Next up for me is Left Coast Crime--I have no idea if the bookstore will have any of my books. Doesn't matter, I will have lots of business cards with the covers of my books and buying information on them to hand out to everyone new I meet. (Tomorrow I'll be writing about that.)

2 comments:

Mark Radford said...

Thanks for sharing your Epicon experience as being a new Epic member in January - this gives me good feedback to consider attending next year's event.

Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

You should attend Epicon, it's always great despite my criticism of the bookstore location this time.

At big cons like Bouchercon and Left Coast Crime, many of the people who come are fans so the bookstore doesn't need to be accessible to non con-goers. Epicon is only for the professionals--writers and publishers--so if there is a book store it makes sense to have it accessible to others staying in the hotel.