As I am calculating my word count for the week, what value, in words, do I put on sitting most of Saturday at the Payson Book Fest?
Sure, it took all day, but I only sold 2 books – and that counts a trade with another author. And this is at a book festival – presumably my target audience.
And it’s not as if no one was selling. The well-known and extroverted author across the aisle was selling a book an hour. He had several titles, the ability to cut deals, and a well-worn patter: “Hi! What do you like to read? Well, right here I have a book that’s vaguely like that. But just today I’ll sell you the whole series as a bundle for $12…”
My informal tracking had him landing a sale one out of three times.
I sold one, and she bought every separate title at our table, and had her money out before I even made my pitch.
I am not shy, but I am not pushy. I lack the chutzpah to pull people in like a carny. And, for the record, I am totally one of the people the extroverted author does not sell a book to. I have an elevator pitch “The adventure of Jack after the Beanstalk...” and a few other lines from my marketing pitch, but you would have to come to me.
A few did, and they listened to my pitch, and said they would think about it and maybe come back. None did.
How do we value a well-intentioned waste of time?
Or was it wasted?
Besides the fact that I sold two more books than I would have binge-watching Narcos, there may some real, if hard to quantify value for doing these events. Because a lot of people go to these things and only buy a small fraction of the books they will eventually purchase. And a lot of them just come to window shop.
There is a vague thing in sales called the Rule of 7, which states, essentially, it takes seven contacts, or “touches”, with a potential customer before they even begin to think about a purchase. Those seven touches (on average) (and this theory varies widely by source) are why sellers add marketing on top of sales.
So if I think of it as marketing, then maybe some good? Maybe those two or three near misses I had will buy the book later.
That’s an awful lot of maybes to clear a Saturday for. But I camped afterwards in the coolish pines, and that was definitely worth it.
Last week’s WHWL? = 1000
Last week’s Monday night group = 500
Editing Go Action Fun Time with the new mechanic, and just cleaning up the copy, 3 hours at 500 words/hour = 1500
Thursday Night group = 500
Handwritten draft of Taliesin’s Last Apprentice = about 500 words.
(Written at the Book Fest, as I was not barking like a carny).
If I count a Book Event at a thousand words – I hit my 5k goal.
In the end, it’s worth what I say it’s worth, isn’t it?
Now we know.