Cheri Cowell here.
I'm often asked why authors should attend the yearly industry conference called the International Christian Retail Show? As I'm preparing to attend this year's convention in Orlando July 15-18, I thought I'd share a few marketing tips for those attending this year or who plan to attend next year in St. Louis.
2. If you do not have a book releasing, there are a lot of good reasons to attend but you will need to either pay the entry fee for media (as an author who will write articles) or perhaps you can offer to pay for a pass through your local Christian bookstore and that will be less expensive. The fee is anywhere from $25-$95 for the four days.
3. Many associations and groups have mini-conferences prior to the big convention and these offer authors a chance to network with fellow authors. Some of these groups offer classes, such as media training, during a retreat setting, and others simply get together for dinner (CAN members are meeting for dinner Sunday night before the convention begins Monday).
4. In addition to my booksigning this year I'm preparing for media interviews, which I've set up myself through the contacts I've made in the past. Some publishers will set these up for you, but either way, it is great to take advantage of so much media in one location.
5. I've also prepared to meet with editors. Although things have changed a bit and editor appointments are hard to get by simply walking the floor, I've contacted editors I've met at conferences and arranged times to meet with them and I'm ready for impromptu appointments while walking the floor. Perhaps you have an idea you want to float or a proposal you want to pitch, or maybe you just want to "catch a cup of coffee with them." This is neworking time. Take advantage of it.
6. Finally, I'm prepared with business cards and book flyers. There will be hundreds of bookstore owners and fellow industry types there and you'll want to take advantage of the God-opportunties He places before you. I've received invitations to speak, to do bookstore events, to lead retreats, and to Skype with potential buyers at a bookstore. You never know what God is going to do so be prepared.
One final thought. This is a very intense event and the focus is not on us- the focus in on bookstore owners and the sales teams at the publishers. The biggest reason for our being there, in my opinion, is to cover these men and women in prayer. Satan doesn't like what they are doing and we can hold Satan in place with our prayer covering. Look for opportunties to pray. Last year I sat down on one of the few benches available and the lady next to me almost broke into tears when I said a kind word. I was blessed to pray with her and beleive if she was the only reason I'd gone that day, it was time well spent.
If you will be there this year, I hope to see you at my signing Tuesday at 3pm AMG booth. If you plan to attend next year, let me know and I'll be sure to attend your signing.
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