Thursday, January 13, 2011

Promoting books: At what cost?

Every author out there knows that promoting is a necessity in order to get your name out there and your books a household name. So how much does it really cost to promote books?

My friend Vonda Skelton, author of the Bitsy mystery series, did 60 events last year, but mind you those are paying events - she is a phenomenal speaker and she makes a decent living doing all these speaking events. I can only hope to be there one day. On the other hand, where I am right now, paying to be a vendor at events and hoping to break even from book sales comes at a price.

I have a possible 12 to 14 events scheduled (ones I'm pretty sure I can or will do again this year as I've already done them in previous years, plus a few new ones), and the cost of each has me wondering how I'm going to pull it off. Some are less expensive but when you factor in travel, gas, hotel costs, food cost, et cetera, it starts adding up.

My first event in February, is basically a freebie for vendors but I have to travel so I have to get a hotel room for one night, plus dinner Friday night and gas, so not a very expensive trip.

Trips to Pennsylvania (St. Emmelia Orthodox Homeschool Conference), Florida (HERI Homeschool Curriculum Fair), Georgia (Savannah Children's Book Festival and the CGCHE Homeschool Curriculum Fair), Tennessee (CTSHE Homeschool Curriculum Fair), and North Carolina (Mint Hill Sunday in the Park, Love to Learn Homeschool Conference, Blue Ridge Book festival and hopefully the Celebration of Books again) do end up costing more even if one is comped as a workshop presenter in different ways. Most of these trips on the bare necessities are going to run about $500 to $750 per event (this would be the vendor fee, if I do a workshop fee, which I will do my workshop as much as possible or as much as I can afford to do; gas, food, hotels, and paying my helpers). I have yet to sell anywhere close to that amount at any book signing or event, although eventually I would love to do some sales in the thousands; I'd even take several hundred at any one given event not that I keep that many books on hand but if the sales are there, it isn't difficult to get books ordered and ship to the person purchasing the books.

So I'm kind of wondering, how much do you as an author put into promoting your books? How do you pick which events to do? How do you fund those events if you are a fairly new author and don't have a sponsor for your books or a large publisher who pays advances that can be used for travel and promoting?


Diplo_Daddy said...

Amazing. I had no idea it cost that much. You've certainly opened my eyes.

elysabeth said...

And those are all the ones that are under $200 for vendor tables, and most pretty local. I have done book festivals and events where I've had to split the cost of a booth with others since I can't afford $400 or larger fees on my own. I just got notification the SC Book Festival early bird deadline is approaching, February 1, but I won't be doing that one this year since I have a conflict the weekend that one is going on. I just wish someone would bestow upon me some funds to support my books (promoting at least - cover travel and all that other stuff) or that my books were supporting me instead of me supporting them right now - lol.

Thanks for stopping by. Glad I opened your eyes about a little piece of the world of being a published author.

Carol Baldwin said...

Yes, being at conferences takes a lot of time. energy, and sometimes money. that's why I'm very careful about where I decide to go!

elysabeth said...

That's it in a nutshell, Carol. - Time, money and energy and we just have to pick and choose where we are, but we also need to be out there. It's kind of a catch-22; if you don't have the funds, you can't be out there, but on the other hand, you need to be out there to get your book(s) and name known, so that they can start supporting you instead of the other way around. - lol. Thanks for stopping by, Carol. E :)

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