I recently had the pleasure of joining C.S. Friedman, author and writer guest of honor, for coffee at RavenCon 2008 in Richmond, Virginia. Several others joined Celia’s cozy fireside klatch, including Cathy Green, President of the Washington Science Fiction Association and the Wombat (aka Jan Howard Finder), a well-known science fiction fan. The atmosphere was rich and warm, even if the coffee wasn’t.
Celia had much wisdom to impart regarding promotion of novels. She confirmed what I had heard at Book Expo America in 2005: Traditional book signings and readings usually don’t generate significant sales. To be purchased, books must be where many people can see them. Getting your book displayed for sale in a wide variety of bookstores is critical. Effective distribution and generating booksellers’ interest are important keys to success.
For science fiction/fantasy writers, “cons” can be useful for connecting with fans. Serving on panels is good. Moderating a panel can be even better. A strong–but not arrogant–moderator will earn respect and this can improve book sales. Celia’s professional attitude and smile certainly earned my respect.
But more importantly, Celia projected genuine warmth. She made others feel comfortable and accepted. When Lady Ozma (aka Jacalyn Stanley) dropped by our gathering to request a podcast interview appointment with Celia, Friedman suggested that Ozma might arrange an appointment with me, as well. This action showed kindness and consideration. At the conference I purchased two books by C.S. Friedman (“This Alien Shore” and “The Madness Season”) and look forward to reading them.
By the way, watch the RavenCon website for information about the podcast. The series of interviews, including my own, should be available in a couple of months. I’ll keep you posted.
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