05-26-18 – Blog Queen - Sarah Raplee

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles? Um…

This post, by necessity, needs to be about me -- because my books all take place in the eras of ships, carriages, and horseback. That said, I do quite a lot of traveling as an author; sometimes to learn about places and people, and sometimes to share what I have learned.

As both authors and readers, we have more opportunities to attend events than any of us have the time or money for. These past four months I traveled to the Tucson Festival of Books, Desert Dreams Writers Conference, Pike’s Peak Writers Conference, Romantic Times Booklovers Convention, and Romance Writers of America’s National Conference. And in between these, I ran my own reader event, Arizona Dreamin’ (one half of the Dreams Convention).

Obviously, I’ve spent a lot of time in planes and automobiles (the only trains I experienced were shuttling me between airport terminals).

So, why did I travel to all these places?

Three of these events were focused on pitching my books to readers. There is nothing more effective than offering readers a chance to meet me, so that I may become their new favorite author. I always look for inexpensive (and easy to pack) promo items, switching up the choices from year to year. I wear my branded shirts every day, and I smile. A lot.

I attended two of these events primarily because I was speaking at them. I love addressing other authors and sharing what I have learned -- both since I started writing eight years ago, and began publishing four years ago.

I was honored to attend one event -- the Romance Writers of America National Conference -- as the new President of my local chapter. I had not attended this conference since 2009, because once I started self-publishing, they said I wasn’t “real.” But in 2012, RWA voted to accept as “published” any author who met a benchmark number in royalties on a single title. I had surpassed that benchmark, so I submitted my documentation and was awarded Published Author status. So, I was back on board!

Looking forward, I don’t plan to travel quite as much; I didn’t get much writing done as I hoped during those months, and after all is said and done this really is about the books. And yet, as an author still building her fan base, visiting other parts of the country, meeting new audiences, and networking with other authors is very helpful. It’s finding a balance that is hard.

The key is deciding which events present the best use of my time and money, and those are often the ones which 1) provide readers the best experiences, and 2) attract an audience interested in romance, specifically non-Scottish historicals.

One exciting opportunity for next July has popped up: The Daughters of Norway Conference in California. Norwegian women + Norwegian heroes = a match made in Valhalla! These are my people. I’ll be there.

But along the way, I cannot neglect my research. Even in the Age of Google, there is nothing like walking through the land and talking to the people. To that end, I do have one other trip planned: Norway, above the Arctic Circle, in February. How “cool” is that?

Planes, trains and automobile may get me there -- but ships, carriages, and horseback carry me back through my characters’ worlds.

I wouldn’t have it any other way.


Judith Ashley said...

Okay, I was agreeing about finding the balance between promoting our books and writing and they I read you next to the last paragraph and my nodding head with smiling face froze. Norway? In February? Oh my - I so wish I was going!!!


Diana McCollum said...

Wow, a trip to Norway! I bet you are thrilled. It is so important in this day and age to make ourselves visible to fans and new readers. Great post!

Kris Tualla said...

This is my second trip to Norway - the first was in late June/early July when there were only 4 hours of night-ish. Now I get to experience the opposite! :)

Pippa Jay said...

I envy your ability to travel and talk about your books. There are far fewer opportunities in the UK, and I just don't have the budget to either travel much or buy promo materials. But I'll be going to my first SFF convention in October - my first in 20+ years and my first as a publisher author. I'm hoping this might be the start of a regular thing for me.

Sarah Raplee said...

I learn so much from you, Kris! Love how you found such a focused venue in the Daughters of Norway!

When I was a little girl and read a book set in Norway, that became the country I most wanted to visit out of all of Europe. The author must have had a gift for description, because that longing has never left me.

I wan pictures! Lots of pictures! on Facebook. Enjoy!