Books, booze, and a bit of blather

Let’s be honest: you probably couldn’t pick your favorite novelist out of a lineup.

Unless, maybe, it’s Stephen King.

That’s because most readers, at best, catch a glimpse of an author’s face while flipping through the back few pages of the book. Some of the top-selling authors might get a second glance thanks to websites, magazine interviews, and so forth, but for the most part, fiction writers retain their anonymity.

Many of us prefer it that way.

When my 10-year-old daughter asked if I was going to get famous after publishing The Renegade Chronicles, I told it was doubtful and that I’d rather sell books than become a celebrity. I’m OK with the fact that “David Michael Williams” is just words on a page for most people.

Except every author is a brand, and boosting sales often requires putting oneself in the spotlight. In the spirit of “selling myself,” I’ve been dedicating time every week toward marketing my books in the form of author spotlights, online interviews, and review requests.

June kicks off the next phase of my book marketing: live events.

Now, I’ve never done a book signing or a reading before. And I can count the number of times I’ve publicly spoken about my fiction writing on one finger.

If my comfort zone as a writer is a few square feet around my laptop, the two events on the horizon are going to metaphorically push me all the way to Madagascar, complete with scary lemurs.

It’s not that I have a fear of public speaking or that I’m not confident in the quality of my writing. I’ve presented on a variety of topics in a professional capacity. I can be an incredibly social guy when I want/need to be and could talk about any topic related to writing for hours on end.

But now I’m putting not only my expertise on display, but also my labor of love and…well…myself.

What passage should I read? How many copies of my books should I bring to sell? How am I going to calculate sales tax on the fly and make change? What should I wear? What if no one has any Qs during my Q&A?

And why ever did I think this event marketing thing was a good idea?

Nerves aside, I am excited about the upcoming opportunities to give The Renegade Chronicles more exposure. If you’re in the area, I encourage you to attend. You can even razz me if you want, though I might have to guilt you into buying a book as payback.

Here are the details:

Downtown Fond du Lac Wine Walk promotional image

Tour the Town Art Walk / Wine Walk

Friday, June 17, 2016
5 to 8 p.m.
Cujak’s Wine & Coffee Bar, 47 N. Main St., Fond du Lac, Wis.

I’ll be the featured artist at Cujak’s Wine & Coffee Bar—a very cool venue—and this month’s art walk just happens to coincide with the downtown wine walk. You can buy tickets for the wine walk, but the art walk is free. I will have all three of The Renegade Chronicles novels on hand to sell, and I’ll sign copies, answer questions, and most likely do a short reading from Rebels and Fools.

Fond du Lac Area Writers Club

Tuesday, June 28, 2016
7 p.m.
Moraine Park Technical College, Room O104, 235 N. National Ave., Fond du Lac, Wis.

I was invited to be the guest speaker at the monthly club meeting of the Fond du Lac Area Writers (FAW). Be sure to attend if you want to learn more about my writing background, the evolution of The Renegade Chronicles from a vague idea to a published trilogy, the publishing process itself, and my future plans as an author and indie publisher.

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Filed under Writing

4 responses to “Books, booze, and a bit of blather

  1. Kim

    Very exciting. Make sure to share pictures! I wish I could be there.

  2. At the FAW meeting, you noted that they used to tell writers to get a “resume” together of published short stories, and THEN go find an agent. I remember those days, and how discouraging they were.

    The main reason: I did write a few short stories back then. But I’d get so into them, building the characters and the scenes, that by the time they were done, all the Writer’s Market guidelines said they were too short for novels and way too long for publishing in the magazines. 😛 They didn’t like publishing novellas then, either. So eventually I stuck a bunch of my Gothic stories in an anthology, tied them all together into a frame storyline, and published them on Lulu. 🙂

    Self-publishing has its drawbacks, however, not just because of the stigma, but because you have to do everything yourself. It sounds like publishing with the big houses has turned into a corporate business, much like pop/mainstream music, where quality and art suffer. I intend to try my new novel with small publishers when it’s finished.

    • Yeah, the beauty of e-publishing is that length becomes far less of a factor. Novellas and novelettes are becoming increasingly popular, and, yes, short story anthologies are a nice way to get shorter fiction in front of readers.

      I’m pretty sure traditional publishing has almost always been about making a buck. That’s business. But what’s becoming more of a hurdle for authors is the fact that it has become an incredibly conservative business model. Why take a chance on a new name when your existing roster of authors (and the revenue they bring in) are easier to predict? Add to that the fact that there are fewer warm bodies in the building to see to all of the tasks that need to be done, and you come to the bizarre paradigm where acquiring editors are scouring self-/indie-published books that are finding an audience so that the company can capitalize on the hard work that’s already been done.

      On the one hand, it makes sense: it’s easier to spot a “star” when it’s already on the rise. But on the other hand, if the author has already done so much of the leg work to build said audience, then one wonders whether it’s worth it to sign the contract. Of course, it depends on the terms (e.g., the advance, the amount of marketing the traditional publisher will commit to, etc.).

      And let’s not forget the arguably biggest advantage to signing with a big (or even medium-sized) house: they can get the hard copy into stores that wouldn’t otherwise give your book the time of day.

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