I learned three big lessons when I attended the Roanoke Author Invasion book festival earlier this month. (I attended as a reader, sigh, but some day . . . ! )
Lesson Numero Uno
Authors are super nice in person and are happy to talk about their books and their writing processes. The authors I met encouraged me in my writing journey, and I picked up some good tips. Like,
Research outside of your genre so you can thread new ideas into your stories.
Lesson Number Two
Some swag is better than others. I cringed a little at all the wonderful goodies authors gave out (see the feature image for this post) because I don’t NEED more pens, pins, or stickers.
The Best Freebie
The best freebie I got was a bookmark with a download code on the back for a free e-story. It was a story by Jo Michaels, an author I wasn’t particularly interested in until I read the free story. She’s got me wanting more. Now that’s effective swag!
Lesson Number Three
Multiple authors asked me for my business card.
Me: Oh, but I’m not published yet. I’m an aspiring novelist.
Helpful Author #1: You must establish your brand before you publish.
Helpful Author #2: Your future audience needs to know where to find you.
Helpful Author #3: Now is the time to build your social media presence. Put your social media accounts on your card.
Is it worth it?
The Roanoke Author Invasion isn’t a huge event, so is it worth it for authors in the region? I’d say yes if it fits your genre. (They don’t allow erotica or nonfiction.) There was scant room between the tables because of all the readers/fans, and folks were leaving the venue with stacks of books. Here’s my stack of nine autographed books (plus two e-books!):
I came away a happy reader. Maybe someday I’ll come away a happy author!