Saturday, June 29, 2013

My Indie Author Event Experience (SFINE)

I've been avoiding writing this post. Let me start with a nightmare I had two months leading to my first big indie signing in San Francisco (June 15th). In the dream I only sold one paperback and the person who bought it forgot to pay. I searched the event room and then took to the streets of San Francisco trying to track down this person who constituted my one and only sale. I wanted my twelve bucks, damn it!

 My real life experience wasn't far off.

I sold two paperbacks and one reader left hers on my table. I noticed this later, jumped up from my table and began searching the room. Luckily she was still milling around and I didn't have to take to the streets.

The Good

My table buddy, S.G. Holster. Total glam girl with a heart of gold.

Thessa, head volunteer organizer. I brought her a gift in thanks for her hard work and she brought me a hug - from author Rachael Wade who is friends with Thessa and told her I'd be there. Hugs are the best!

Andrea, a reader who brought her own copies of Entangled and Duplicity for me to sign and wanted to get a picture together.

Book blogger Ashley at Nose Graze for stopping by to chat and mentioning me in this post.

The Book Nerds who drove down from Medford, OR in their pink shirts going around from table to table collecting autographs in their cool self-made scrapbooks - and anyone else who asked for signatures on Kindle cases, totes, T-shirts, and posters. These lovelies know how to make any author feel special. Book angels all of them!

The Bad

Out of the 500 people who registered for the event, only 250 showed up. Stephanie and I tried to lure those who did show up to our table with free bookmarks and Ghirardelli chocolate. (Good one, Steph!)

Feeling like a small fish in a big pond. Actually, more like a fish yanked OUT of the pond, flopping around, gasping for breath.

The Frustrating

Waiting in a hotel shuttle line at the airport for an hour for a shuttle that didn't exist. (My poor husband. I'm the queen of assumptions and poor planning.)

Not being able to see much of San Francisco through all the fog.

Finding myself with three boxes of unsold books to mail back home on a Sunday. We ended up renting a car for the day just so we could load the trunk and drive to an open UPS store. One hundred dollars to ship back. I don't know why I get hung up on stuff like that considering the expense of the hotel, air travel, taxis, paperbacks, and eating out, but dang! At least Seb's suggestion that I buy a roll of Saran Wrap to protect my books panned out. They all arrived home in perfect condition.
With authors Laura A. H. Elliott, S.G. Holster, and Bethany Lopez.
In Conclusion

Unless you're a big fish, independently wealthy, have a great paying day job, or sugar daddy, keep your appearances local or online.

See you in Seattle! ;-)


  1. No matter what you tried and congrats for pursuing the tough but rewarding career of an author.

  2. Even though you had some bad and frustrating moments, it sounds like a lot of fun! It's too bad you didn't get to see much of the city though :(

    And you're going to have another even in Seattle??? Oh I hope I can make it to that one!

    1. One of the authors at SFINE told me there's a Seattle event in the works for 2014. I definitely want to get in on that - being in my "back yard" and all. And that would rock to meet in person! :D

  3. I am sorry you had a frustrating experience. I wish I could have gone. But you are right it is really costly to go to those things. I want to go to Washington so bad, maybe if that event is at a good time I can go see you in Seattle. :)

    By the way I loved your picture of you and your books! You and the books looked beautiful! :) Keep smiling!

    1. That would be awesome if you came to Seattle, Danielle! As soon as I hear when this thing is (or if it's even happening) I'll let you know.

      I find big gatherings a bit overwhelming. I actually have this fantasy about doing an intimate island event with a small mix of authors, bloggers, and readers. Hmmm.

  4. Thanks for a great post, Nikki. Sorry it didn't go your way. But the thing is, maybe it did. I think that each time we get out there we are opening doors we might not even be aware that we're opening. You never know where one of those books may end up, perhaps in the hands of the one person who needs to read it the most (remember being young and finding that book that comforted you and changed your life? That could very well be your book to someone). I did an author talk a few weeks ago as part of a panel. About 10 people showed up. I sold four books. I felt discouraged. But a magazine editor who was there later contacted me and is now reviewing my book, and someone else heard the podcast and is including my book on their Website. Small ripples, but still, ripples nevertheless. (I live for those darned ripples. I'm waiting for a wave but not holding my breath, lol.)
    Cheers and happy Fourth of July. And write on, honey!

    1. I think that's very sound advice, Cinthia. I had a similar thing happen with NetGalley. The listing costs a small fortune to offer electronic review copies and attracted a fair number of Nasty Nellie's, but Entangled ended up being picked up by a reviewer with who gave it a rave 4-star review then went on to review Aurora Sky and give it 5 stars.

      At the end of the day you just gotta keep putting yourself out there. Exposure is good . . . unless it's to the sun or, in our cases, cold!

      Love you. Love your writing. Love your book. And love your attitude towards life! <333

  5. can imagine that must have been a frustrating day for you, but you did it! You need to be out there so people get to know you, so dont give up!!
    Would happily give you some promo posts on my blog, feel free to contact me if youd like!
    In the meantime, youve got another fan here! ;)

  6. I couldn't get down to see you this time, but I would totally go to Seattle....and buy books!