Here’s how I figured the odds:
• At best, one of the attending readers would remember two or possibly three authors long enough to explore them further.
• That means the odds going in were less than 5% that a particular person would remember me.
• The odds of that person remembering me if I didn’t participate were zero.
Needless to say, the object of every single one of the authors was to change the odds in their favor by standing out in a positive fashion.
The award nominees or winners tended to emphasize that point and leave it at that. Their message was essentially that since lots of people liked the book; go check it out for yourself. Bad Policy did win the Evan Marshall Fiction Makeover Contest, and I included that in my presentation, but I knew I needed more.
Unbelievable to me, some authors had not practiced their spiel. They ran out of time, in one case before we even found out the name of her book.
Some people ran over their allotted minute and despite someone waving a stop sign in front of
them, plowed right on. In discussing this with authors and readers, I found no one who would buy a book from a person who rudely broke the agreed upon rules.
People who relied on describing their plot didn’t differentiate their books from anyone else’s. Someone gets killed. The protagonist has to find out why. Bad things happen. S/he gets the villain. Yawn.
Interesting locations or interesting protagonists worked better than plots.
Those few who were very clever were indeed remembered for their cleverness, but not necessarily for their book. Too clever, and the author becomes the equivalent of the Super Bowl commercial so cute every one remembers, but not what it promoted).
So, you may wonder, how did I do?
I rate it as a so-so performance. I mentioned my contest win; provided the opening incident; added the book’s connection to Boston, Irish Mafia and its split with the Provisional IRA, and then talked about Seamus and why he was an interesting character. I did not ignore the stop sign and ended on a humorous note.
I doubt anyone left the room with a burning desire to buy my book. However, I believe in the rule of three: it often takes three contacts with a new idea/thing/experience before we are willing to explore it. For some this was their first connection; for a few it was their second. And who knows, perhaps for someone it was their third.
On Sunday when this goes to press, I am moderating a panel titled, Traditional Mysteries: We Like It That Way with a great group of panelists (Susan M. Boyer, Michele Drier, Christopher Lord and Kendel Lynn). The time isn’t great (9:00) but again it is one more opportunity for someone to connect with my name.
Hope springs eternal.