I had a great time at the Northwoods Art and Book Festival last Saturday. I had a table next to friend/poet Laura Hansen with whom I had many conversations about marketing. I loved schmoozing with the other writers selling their books in the room. Some of them were doing quite well. I, on the other hand, did not sell one book which made me do some serious reflecting.
I noticed that many people who took a quick glance at the poster that showed my book would pass by in a manner that made me wonder. They were hesitant to make eye contact with me, it seemed. I can only imagine the reason that a book about Jesus might cause a different response than other books.
A few people stopped by to chat and these fell into two camps. The first were those who clearly had a commitment to the Bible and wanted to tell me what they believed. These never asked me what I believed nor did they want to discuss the book itself with me.
There were a few who stopped by that were informed about the scriptures but had a different view. These tended to be college educated folks, two in the area of theology and the third educated in science at a liberal Catholic university. These were curious about my approach. Two were familiar with the books I used in my research. While I enjoyed all of the conversations with those who stopped by, none chose to buy the book.
At the end of the day, I realized that this type of venue is valuable for its opportunity to learn about marketing and publishing and for the fellowship with other writers. I am persuing other venues that I believe will be more fruitful: book store signings, discussion groups, church groups, and libraries. I have opportunities in the making in all three areas.
The event took place in a church and I left information about my book and an offer to meet with any church groups that would be interested in having me come read and speak about the book.
While the event did not lead to book sales. I have to say that I enjoyed it tremendously. I hope to encounter some of the writers again. I need their cheering on and their expertise. I want to be able to do the same for them.