09. December 2019 · Comments Off on A Happy and Glorious Christmas · Categories: Uncategorized

A longish drive to Goliad Saturday morning in the wee hours – well, somewhat wee hours, starting at 7 AM – and a somewhat longish drive back, after all of us in the Author Corral began packing up at 3 PM. The doggie Christmas costume contest at 3 PM pretty well means that a lot of the roving shoppers are over at the bandstand watching the dogs, and the day would end at 4 PM anyway. Once three or four authors began packing up, the day is done and dusted.

I looked back in my archives and FB, and it seems that I have been going to Goliad for the Christmas on the Square for ten years – my, how the time flies when you are having fun. I’ve been at it long enough that Estelle Z. was in charge of wrangling authors for the corral; the first one we had a pavilion next to the stage, then for a couple of years in the little courtyard off the Chamber of Commerce building, then – upon that disastrous year when it was 20 degrees with a strong gale blowing – we were in a disused restaurant premise in one of the Square buildings. I think I sold one book that year, to the author at the next table, as we all huddled miserably in overcoats and blankets and waited for some intrepid and chilled to the bone customer to find us by accident and wander in. Christmas on the Square was deserted that year; most of the vendors bagged it early, and we headed off home at about 1:30, upon looking at a weather forecast which predicted ice and sleet. Eventually, the Author Corral moved into the courtyard at the Mustang Cantina, and this year, a lot of the booths were set up along that side of the square – and I did moderately well with book sales, which is very pleasing. This is where the Edwardian author drag paid off; going out and circulating among shoppers along the square, telling them about the Author Corral and handing out cards. A good few of the other authors did this, so we collected up some more business than we might have otherwise.

I am quite inordinately fond of Goliad – it is the modal for Luna City’s famed and historic Town Square, less the grandiose courthouse in the middle. Because, of course, Luna City lost out on being the county seat, on account of losing their certain chance of being a stop on the San Antonio & Aransas Pass Railway when … long chain of circumstances here … and the founders of Luna City (which was a 1885 real estate project to begin with) had to make lemonade out of the blasted hopes for local civic prominence. A lot of the pictures which serve as chapter heading illustrations in the Luna City books are of places in Goliad. (A lot of them are not. I should run a contest, for Texas readers guessing the source of those illustrations.)  

This be the name of the game, for independent authors – it’s only half the job, writing and publishing The Book. The other half is marketing that book; and an event where people are generally shopping and looking for good gifts? Work it, Author! Work it! Be charming, engage with people, talk to them about your books, about other authors’ books! Hand out postcards, business cards, bookmarks and flyers about your books! In one of those author discussion groups, I vaguely remember reading that for an indy author the key is to have two dozen or more super-fans; readers who love your books so extravagantly and deeply that not only will they rush out and buy everything that you put out there, but they will talk you up to everyone they know, in real-life and on-line … and the ripple effects move outwards. Another theory has it that having a certain number of books out there creates a multiplier effect. Every book you have out there is an advertisement to the casual reader for every other book you have written. Again, another ripple effect.

Le sigh deep.

Still working it. And I committed to a Third Thursday in Seguin, for July, 2020. The organizer of these is another indy author and member of the Texas Author’s Guild, whose project is to eventually open an indy author bookstore in Seguin. I believe the long-term goal is to turn Seguin (which has a charming old-fashioned main street and is an easy commute from any point along the San Antonio-Austin axis) into a sort of Texan Hay-on-Wye; a veritable mecca for bookstores and the readers who love bookstores. This gives me an absolute deadline for completing the next Luna City installment, and That Fateful Lightning both, so that one or the other can have an official launch. This will be a change from my usual, which is to kick them out there, after notifying a couple of biggish weblogs that my next book is available. Sitting at a table in a relatively deserted bookstore, glumly watching casual shoppers avoiding my eye just has no appeal anymore. Another author for company and a coffee shop in the late afternoon/early evening has a lot more appeal!  

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