Wednesday, April 9, 2008

She Made $18 This Weekend

Or This is Why Writers Starve to Death

My fantasy author, Sandy Lender, participated in the Naples Press Club Author and Books Festival as an extension of the club's annual Writer's Conference this past weekend. She'd normally be blogging about this over at, because this is a lesson in marketing and promotion that writers can take information from, but Blogger is still reviewing her site (and she's adding this as one more day she'll be billing them for…).

But to get to the point of this post, she sold six copies of her fantasy novel Choices Meant for Gods, and traded one, from her table in a hidden tent on the back patio of the von Liebig Art Museum on the first day of the conference, which was held alongside the Naples Art Festival just off of 5th Street downtown. She sold nothing on the second day because the only traffic (approximately 15 people who weren't other vendors) was conference attendees who had already seen the vendors on Saturday. But she still considers the event a success because she got her name out there for a couple of days and did some networking.

Here's where she's entertained by the statistics she gathered for other writers.
First, the list of facts.
She distributed the following:
16 pens at 42 cents per pen = $6.72
21 bookmarks at 25 cents per bookmark = $5.25
30 flyers at 39 cents per flyer = $11.70
one sword at $19.99 (not including shipping and tax)
one basket at approximately $53.00

The table cost her $75 for the two days
So she spent approximately $171.66 to make $18 this weekend. This does not include the 15 hours of editing and writing time lost while she stood there being perky.

The reason she's entertained by this is because it's NORMAL. When she attended DragonCon last fall, the same concept held true, but on a larger (read: more expensive) scale. This is why she laughs and calls her soon-to-be-ex a flaming idiot when he (and his attorney) makes requests for royalties from her sales. It seems the idiot who's never supported her writing habit and never read Choices Meant for Gods in any of its incarnations (either before meeting her, before marrying her, after marrying her, etc.), feels entitled to half her royalties "just because". She'd be perfectly willing to hand him half the $18 if he'd like to hand her half the $171.66 (of course, he'd need to also give her half of the $154 she paid up-front to have those seven copies of CMFG on hand). Oh, and there's about $6 grand plus in other marketing expenses prior to this weekend that she has records of that he can split 50/50 if he's still feeling entitled.

Have I mentioned that he's an idiot?

SO! If you're a writer with marketing and promoting aspirations, there's one way to network and get information distributed. Now, Sandy could have gotten together with a fellow author or two to split the cost of the table for the two days, but, considering the table afforded her only a 3- or 4-foot space, and her display is extensive, splitting it would prove problematic. For DragonCon this fall, she's splitting a 6-foot table with fellow fantasy author M.B. Weston, so they each get 3 feet of space to set their goodies in. It doesn't seem like much, but they're making plans to use the space behind them for presentation as well. It sounds elaborate and crazed.

They will spend nearly $1,000 each for the honor of standing in the basement of a hotel hoping attendees realize there are vendors in that section of the hotel and hoping those attendees purchase their books, love them, and become fans for the future.

And this is why so many writers starve to death before they become famous.

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1 comment:

Laura M. Crawford said...

We will have a great, big laugh about this when you hit the NY Times Bestseller list as we sit on your yacht sipping champagne!

Hang in there Sandy, the best is yet to come!

Laura :)

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