Over the past couple blogs I had covered medieval, renaissance fairs that I had attended. These posts included the events I saw there, and some of the people I met. There was a comment put on my blog asking me how I promoted my book at one of these events? My response to this question is: To mind your own business and go bother someone else: JUST KIDDING.
This is actually a wonderful inquiry and opens up questions about who, and what we are as authors, and how far should we go to promote our books. I want to clarify I am speaking about going to a medieval faire or festival to attend that event, not renting a table or booth. When you rent a booth at an event, you are no longer an observer of that event, you are part of it, and so the rules change.
I must confess that I am not a professional writer. I have a very good career in government, and as a public servant, I have excellent security and a steady paycheck. My livelihood does not depend on how many books I sell, so my opinion might not be the same as someone who is a professional author depending on the sales of his or her books.
It is easy for me to comment about promoting a medieval novel at a renaissance fair, so authors of other genres must be creative at where they can promote their own novels. For science fiction writers, you might want to attend Sci-fi/comic book conventions. Horror and romance writers, your conventions are limited to a yearly event, Halloween and Valentine’s day respectively. I am mentioning conventions and holidays, because these will be the times when promoting your novel is the easiest; the potential reader is already in the mood for your genre of writing.
What I do at these medieval faires, is to have fun enjoying them. I will observe the different demonstrations and events and if there is something I like, I will go talk to them. It is at this time, I will comment to them that I want their business card or contact information. I then will tell them I am going to mention them on my blog, and give them one of my novel’s bookmarks that have my blog web address on the back.
Now, I want to make one very important point, and want to make it at this point in my post. I am complimenting, and recommending these performers and demonstrators based on THEIR merit, not for the point that I may receive some kind of quid pro quo, expecting promotion for myself. If you are going to mention someone, your first priority is to be sincere and promote them, if there is any advancement that comes your way; that is secondary. If you are not genuine, you will not be able to hide that. I do not think there is anything worse in this world than insincerity.
This is somewhat different than a group you might belong to on Facebook or LinkedIn, where it is expected that you might visit each other’s sites to make comments or suggestions, etc. When you mentioned a business or entertainer on your blog, you should do it to promote them, do not expect anything in return.
After I have made contact with the people at the faires, I will “friend” or “like” these groups or people on social media sites. I will do simple blurbs about them, and what I thought of their performances or demonstrations.
The next step is to write my blog about the event. It is in this blog that I can mention the above-named groups and include a link where my readers can find them. This is different than a review, I rarely if ever complain about something I encounter at one of these faires. This is not to say I might not mention the long lines, or complain about the turkey leg I got, this kind of grievances is beyond the control of the faire promoters.
So in your blog you have mentioned the performers, vendors that you like, now go back to your social media and tell them about your blog. Here is where the sincerity of your blog post kicks in, if it is not honest, they may not tell you about, they may do something worse, and that is to ignore you.
If you made a simple honest comment about them, then they will tell others where to find your blog. As you can tell, doing a blog listing the people that you met at an event, will increase your blog views, and as a result more exposure for your product.
Now we come back to one of the points I commented on earlier, Who and What we are as writers. I remember the words I received as a professional wrestler from Killer Kowalski; “Never turn down an opportunity to promote yourself.”
Although I respected Killer Kowalski, I find this a hard concept because it is against my personality, I am not a pushy aggressive person and do not like to impose my will on others. I knew early on in life that being a salesperson was not an appropriate career choice.
As a writer, I used the same approach I did as a wrestler; put out a good product and then people will admire it. I know that this may not be popular with many writers, or business people, who think that the end all is to get someone to buy you book or product.
My result of not being aggressive has increased the viewers of this blog immensely. I want to thank everyone who has visited recently and hope you return each week to read y post.
You could use the aggressive approach when at a fair or convention, going through the crowd handing out bookmarks or flyers, but I think you will find you may get more negative responses then positive toward your product. When you attend a faire or festival as a visitor, that is what you are, a visitor. Treat these events as a guest.
So ask yourself if you should go to events as a visitor, or use that event as a way to aggressively promote yourself or your product. The answer is something you must answer internally.
I would like to take this time to wish all my American readers a happy and safe Independence Day and my friends to the North, a safe and happy Canada Day.
Next time: I will discuss the sequel to "Legend of the Mystic Knights" that I am currently writing.