It goes without saying that the Midwest Delta Authors on Tour was a success! I sold the most books that I have ever sold in one event. Thank God I had additional inventory on the way for the weekend of the event. But for real, I must say I really enjoyed this virtual event as I have all the other events that I’ve participated in since the start on the pandemic. As someone is gets quite nervous when front and center before a crowd, the virtual events are right up my alley! The comfort of home calms my nerves.
However, like any event, though, there are still some takeaways.
- Assistance during virtual events is as important as in-person event. Now the committee in charge of this event was aware of this fact. I was assigned as shadow for both days of the event. However, there really wasn’t a need for a shadow on the first day, which was a private event for the authors of local chapter and regional leadership guests. But on the second day, there definitely was. And my shadow was no where to be found. I needed her during the breakout room to manage the chat while I was speaking to the people who joined my room. I still have no idea why she wasn’t there. It may have been something out of her control but I was left to manage alone. Obviously, I missed some comments in the chat but I handled the pressure like a pro. Now, what I didn’t handle so well were my own plans for the event. Since the breakout rooms weren’t going to be recorded, I had the idea to record myself doing a reading of one or both of my books to add to my online media kit. Unfortunately, when those guests started filling up my room, pressing record on the phone was the farthest thing from my mind.
- Following directions is key. The participating authors were asked to sign books. I can’t recall if we were asked to do this before the event but that would make sense. While I did begin the process, I stopped entirely too short. Likely due to some self-doubt that I wasn’t going to sell that many books. But boy did I? I’m sure attendees wouldn’t be that upset if they received an unsigned book. However, I didn’t want to take that chance. So I’ve been signing each book before I send it out. Then on top of that, I got the late idea to include a personal note with each book thanking them for their purchase and reminding them to sign up for my newsletter. It’s time consuming but I’m taking full advantage of contact with possible readers and longtime fans of my work.
- Prepare for the unexpected. And I’m not just talking losing one’s internet connection or flubbing your prepared presentation. How about your dad, son, and your son’s girlfriend waltzing into the front door, leading into the living room where you’re doing your presentation? And, of course, they don’t come in quietly. Noooo. My Dad comes in announcing that he brought me some fish back from the outing. SMH. He totally looked past the message in my eyes screaming, “Hey!!! I’m in the middle of something.” It wasn’t until that moment that I realized I should have put a sign on the door, “Presentation in Progress”, for the off-chance that they were going to return from fishing before I was expecting them. It was also at the moment that I was happy that the breakup room wasn’t being recorded.
- Don’t forget Amazon appreciation day. I don’t know if this day exist but it should. After selling over 100 books, I definitely appreciate the order fulfillment that Amazon provides for my print-on-demand books ordered through them. Because, let me tell you…making multiple trips to the post office over lunch or after work to fulfill these orders is a true labor of love. But I’m loving every minute of it.