so often, I wonder about ways to attract more people to my work.
And I end up considering the moments and methods that seem so
effective in other places. For one such concept, consider that
Terry and I enjoy heading out to spend some time at an amazing
place… the fair.
if you happen to live in certain places—say, Minnesota or upstate
New York—saying the fair means only one thing… THE fair. The state
fair. You don’t even need to say it three times. It just kind
of appears to sweep you away for a couple of weeks. (Although
that’s a joke, I have heard that if you say “Minnesota State Fair”
three times in a row, a Sweet Martha’s bucket will appear in your
is not an essay about state fairs… or county fairs… or any fairs
really. It’s about the buildings with all the funky stuff that
you really don’t need, but end up spending money with multiple
The Great New York State Fair they call it the Center of Progress
Building. (By law, you’re actually obligated to refer to the New
York State Fair as The Great New York State Fair if you’re writing
the words out while located in any New York State zip code. Really.
Go look it up for yourself. That said, every state law allows
you to say “The Fair” in reference to that specific state’s state
fair since it sounds so warm and cuddly and homespun. Fun stories…
but again not what we’re here for. In fact, in order to explain
why we’re just outside of Syracuse and have meandered away from
the Chevy Court area over toward the Center of Progress Building,
we might need a few more ducks lined up…)
you ever wondered why some people are better at getting spotlights
directed their way? As a writer, I tend to be extremely self-conscious
about selling things. It’s kind of woven into the very existence
of most writers. Hopping in front of a crowd and offering up a
book for sale just doesn’t really connect. (Fun facts: (1) It’s
actually why most of us write. We have observations and stories
and things we’d like to share with you, but we’re awkward and
stumble around in group settings. In order to share them… go on,
you’ve got it… we write. (2) From the Department of Shameless
Self-Promotion, yes, my books are available in paperback and Kindle
editions from places like Amazon and other fine online booksellers.
Thank you for asking.)
it comes time to jump on a box, wave my arms and attempt to get
the attention of the book-loving-public… yeah, it’s difficult.
then you wander into a building like the Center of Progress and
see people lined up to hear about a uniquely designed piece of
plastic that will slice, batter, deep fry and serve forty pounds
of flawlessly golden-brown onion rings in less than five minutes.
Or, you know how yesterday afternoon you dropped a bottle of mustard,
a box of melted crayons and a bowl of beets (along with the beet
juice) onto the floor and let them all dry? Yes… yes… YES
there’s a mop for you.
point is, some of the most amazingly mind-numbing of products
get people watching. They get people pulling out twenty-dollar
bills and credit cards. They move product. (And a lot of product.)
long after I published my first book, I began making appearances
at a variety of events. Signings… readings… author panel discussions
and meet-and-greet afternoons… and more. I found myself asking
about—and to this day, still find myself asking and confirming—what
items I might be expected to have along with me, and if there
are any items I shouldn’t bring.
Sure. At a book signing… because, duh… pens and copies of your
books are pretty good things to have with you. Obvious stuff there.
A lot of us will also produce book marks that feature the latest
release and where it can be purchased, along with other information
or promotion materials.
thing is… after years of efforts and plenty of experiences… I
don’t think it’s the bookmarks to blame if sales don’t match expectations.
I’ve come to believe it’s the lack of pretzels and dip.
those Center of Progress types of buildings at the fairs across
our great nation, there is always at least one booth offering
dip mixes. You know the ones… packets that you mix with mayonnaise
and sour cream to make the most amazing assortment of flavors.
They have a buffet of samples for you to enjoy, and hand out little
pretzel sticks for you to use as you wander along. EVERYONE
loves the free pretzels and dip. People stop… people that hate
mayonnaise and hate jalapeno avocado horseradish and even hate
pretzels stop… people stop to try them all.
have to admit, I don’t have pretzels set up near a stack of my
books. Maybe I should.
has a science for many things. One of the wonderful items of magic
in their theme parks plays upon our passions for incredible glorious
aromas. A more specific way of saying it: They pump the smell
of warm chocolate chip cookies right into our faces. (Actually,
I’ve heard that they don’t do this any longer. But then again,
you never know. What I can tell you is that while you won’t get
a bucket of Sweet Martha’s cookies for saying Minnesota State
Fair three times… and while there is no law in New York requiring
you to include The Great in any mention of The Fair… if you head
off to your favorite search engine of choice and enter in some
wording combination that covers Disney chocolate chip cookies
smell, you will get some interesting results about the thoroughness
of The Mouse’s sales pitch. Gosh I love that magical world. Need
to get back to Orlando. Anyway…)
would like to invite you to visit my author page over at Amazon.
You know how to find the Amazon web site. Once you arrive, just
select the category of books and do a search for my name. (And
thank you for your time and consideration. I appreciate the support.)
I’d like to invite you to spend some time in the Writing
& Books part of this web site. (Tell your
family about it! Tell your friends! Like and follow us on our
social media pages!)
we occasionally offer up a few things for you to enjoy, and provide
you with a reason to come back soon. And… soon… we’ll be offering
pretzels (and likely homemade cookies).