These days, it is the responsibility of the author to do most - if not all - of the marketing for their book. One way to do that is to make ‘personal appearances’ - talks, readings, book signings, that sort of thing. For authors who write science fiction, fantasy or something fairly close to those genres, much of those activities can be done at science fiction conventions.
1) You can participate on ‘panels’, either alone or with other speakers. Panels are discussions or talks on a particular subject, and the marketing involved includes mentioning your (most recent or most known) work when you introduce yourself. 2) Readings are falling out of favor with some sf conventions, but others will still give you a time slot. 3) Most sf conventions have a ‘freebie’ table, where you can place fliers about your work. 4) The author or a group of authors can rent a table in the dealer’s room, where they can sell copies of their books. 5) Autograph sessions can be organized at that dealer’s table. 6) Get out there and mix with people! The more people have met you and had a conversation with you, the more they are likely to buy a copy of your work.
My first appearance this convention season is Willycon, held April 10-12. Held at the college in Wayne, Nebraska, it is the smallest convention we attend each year, but it is a good way of ‘easing’ back into the convention scene after a long winter of hibernation. John and I have been going since the convention got started, and a number of former students are now friends with us on facebook.
I like Willycon because I am not always at my best after that long hibernation, so a small convention lets me get my groove on, so to speak. I always take some fliers for the freebie table, and participate in at least one panel or workshop. This year, as lack-of-planning will have it, I am having a stubborn tooth root surgically removed the day before Willycon, so I have deliberately limited myself to one panel, but it will be fun!
“Well, this is it; We’re all going to die!” will be an audience-participation-expected panel, where we will compile a list of all the various ways humans (or at least most of them) could be wiped off the face of the Earth.
John Lars Shoberg has a few panels that he is giving, including the ‘flip side’ of my panel, which he calls “Surviving the Apocalypse”, or something similar. After I and my audience come up with a list of dooms, he and his audience will figure out how humans could survive each awful fate.
Hope to see you there, or at one of the other conventions we’ll be attending this year. More info on those other conventions in the future.