S.C. Pride was a great success!
The event was held in a great venue: a beautiful downtown park with a huge lawn, reflecting pool and outdoor stage. Taylor Dayne was the MC of the parade and the headliner for a free show held on the outdoor stage toward the end of the day.
Jackson: We were “booth virgins,” so it was a bit of a scramble and took several trips to WalMart by Larkin’s very patient and helpful partner, Rose, to get our booth squared away. The only thing we lacked was a professional-looking banner or sign that advertised Bold Strokes Books.
We decorated the booth, however, with some Bold Strokes tote bags Rad sent for us to give away and everything was good. We stuffed the bags with promo material a lot of you authors sent to Larkin and gave them away to anyone who bought a book. We also had a stack of “hurt books” and had a “buy one of ours, get a hurt book free” special that was a huge selling point. The anthologies were particularly popular. Also, giving away a hurt book by an author with multiple titles also puts your work in the hands of a reader who will buy more if they like your story.
I sold three-quarters of my titles I took, and Larkin, who had more, sold 50 percent of her stock. The fact that Call Me Softly, coming out next April, is set in Aiken, S.C., was a good selling point for me. I gave them a promo sheet I put together with the book cover and an excerpt, and that usually got them to pause long enough to examine and buy one of my current books. I needed that because people were instantly drawn to Larkin’s sexy titles and red book covers. I would point to my books and say “hot romances.” Then I would point to Larkin’s books and say, “red-hot.” (grin)
The icing on the cake were several people who already had bought and read one — or in Larkin’s case several — of our titles and were excited to buy more. Larkin had one lady say, “I’ve already got all your books.”
What more could an author hope for? SQUEALERS!
Larkin: At the very end of the day, I had a group of college girls stop by the booth.
They inquired about one of my books (I was chatting with another lady at the time) and Rose pointed toward me…”Larkin’s right there.”
They SQUEALED!!!…like, OUT LOUD!!!
It was the coolest thing ever…especially considering the younger market we’re all trying to reach. It was refreshing to see the young crowd grabbing books (and yes, I DID make sure they were legal…lol…which is how I found out they were in college)…as well as them wanting more books, more authors, more of BSB!!!
They bought a book, happily picked out the freebie, then let me take their picture to share with you guys.
Even better, we chatted up a lot of people about Bold Strokes Books. If they stuck their noses up at romances, I usually found they would read alternative fiction, action-adventure or mysteries. So, we told them about the BSB titles that fit those categories. Many who didn’t have cash with them to buy books gladly grabbed a BSB promo card that listed some of our titles and our website addy.
Our only regret was that we didn’t have one of our Bold Strokes brothers with us, or a selection of our gay titles. We could have sold them. (Larkin thinks I missed my calling as a sales person.) To make up for it, I gave the guys my pitch about how many gay authors Bold Strokes has been adding recently and directed them to our website. They were truly delighted to hear that.
Larkin: We’ll definately be back next year…this time, with a professional banner…*grin*
Yay for BSB!!!
Jackson: We are so pleased with the results that we’re hustling to get a spot at the Blue Ridge Pride in Asheville on Oct. 2. A beautiful mountain town, Asheville has a large lesbian community. Hopefully, they like to sit indoors and read when the winter snows hit.