Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Wordcraft – Want blurbs for our books? Start searching now!

Fourth in an occasional series about publication and promotion

Last Tuesday’s post dealt with searching for literary agents at conferences. Today’s post deals with finding other authors willing to blurb our published books. Wait – we don’t even have agents, let alone publishers, and suddenly we’re talking about those fine lines of print that read “Excellent entertainment,” “Mesmerizing,” “The Ultimate guide” – to quote blurbs from a few books on my reference shelf.

But isn’t it a little early to be looking for that kind of praise? After all, reviewers or famous authors have to be able to read our book before they can heap praise on it, and we don’t even have a book yet for them to read.

We may also be muttering that we would rather crawl into a hole and die than approach (insert famous author’s name here) and ask him/her to time out of a busy, possibly even profitable schedule to read a book by an unknown writer. That’s the good part. Because right now, we’re not asking for blurbs. We’re not even thinking about blurbs. We’re asking to be friends, or at least fans, of authors whose books we like. What author, famous or not, wouldn’t welcome that kind of request? But somewhere down the line, we may have reason to stop and think, yes, these are the people I’d like to get blurbs from.

Because the best people to get recommendations from – and a blurb is only another kind of recommendation – are people with whom we have a personal relationship. And we start those by taking the first step, a meeting. Online is one way to meet. Face to face is another. Which is why I’m listing conferences with plenty of authors ready and eager to meet with readers.

The literary conferences listed last Tuesday (title) are also full of authors happy to chat with readers, and even happier to sell books to readers. But there are even more conferences that feature only authors, and they’re usually less expensive.

image: wikimedia commons
One that has my local chapter of Mystery Writers of America talking is Bouchercon, the world mystery convention, meeting September 15-18 this year in New Orleans. Please note that the deadline for registration is September 9 (this coming Friday). No registration will be available at the door, so hurry for a chance to meet and hang out with hundreds of mystery and thriller authors. 

Also this month, one of my favorite Dallas-area small conferences: FenCon, September 23-25. This features dozens of science fiction, fantasy and horror writers giving readings and opining on panels, all of them with books to sell.

Interested in young adult and middle grade books? Check out the Texas Teen Book Festival in Austin, October 1. Or for the every genre imaginable festival, the Texas Book Festival, November 5-6, also in Austin.

For romance readers, a Dallas-area convention is Readers ‘n’ritas, November 11-13, in Allen, Texas. Smaller than those above, but with dozens of romance authors eager to connect with readers.

For other single-author events or series, see “Fall into autumn with Texas literary events,” at this site, August 16, 2016. To search for authors as well as agents, see "Where the heck do you go to meet an agent?" also at this site, August 30, 2016. Above all, get on the mailing lists of any local or regional bookstores that host author signings.

So now we’ve met, chatted, bought, taken pictures of us smiling with (insert famous author's name here), posted on social media. Aren’t we among hundreds or thousands of fans who’ve done the same? How are the authors of our dreams going to remember us from among all the rest? That’s the next step in the process. But I’ll take a brief hiatus and let book publicist Stephanie Barko tell us next Tuesday what her profession can do.

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