...ah yes, the writing life?
Back when I was a kid, telling people I wanted to be a writer, this scene was the farthest thing from my head. I just wanted to make stories. I had no inkling that once you wrote a long one (a novel) and it got published, there would be all this selling stuff. (Read the word "selling" as if you are a 15-year-old girl asked to be the assistant in her 10-year-old brother's science project demonstration.)
But I've given up on complaining about the need to get people to look at/buy Fish-Eye Lens. I know that the book isn't going to magically find its audience. Now I just want to make that process as much fun as writing the novel was.
And so I'm trying to find sales venues that match the book's devil-may-care attitude and laid-back lifestyle: beachy places, gatherings of Jimmy Buffett fans, a jazz festival.
It's not as if I'm unused to these fairs and festivals; I've been going to them for years. But I was always on the other side, one of the strollers and gawkers who stop to look more closely only if there's something to pique interest.
Thus my gimmicks: the island music, an umbrella drink (even if it's only really water), the beach chair and an inflatable palm tree named Eileen.
Oh, but I am still such an amateur! I realized that at the Jazz Fest, watching my fellow vendors set up. They have tents and display walls and generators and gadgets that take credit cards and ... well, you name it. This is a business for them, not a pleasant day at the market that might result in a sale or two.
The experience gave me so much more respect for the artists, farmers and food truck operators who do this all the time, getting their stuff out there to draw our attention.
It would be wonderful to say that all these efforts end up in sales that exceed the time, money and effort put into them ... but I doubt it. The total receipts from my day were a few nice chats with people, a few business cards gone to those who want to look up the book online, the pleasure of listening to the music and the humor of one four-legged visitor who inspected Eileen and then decided she wasn't real enough for a leg lift.
I hope that the other vendors did better financially, and that they had as much fun as I did.