I've written in the blog before about the benefits of networking, and over the last bank holiday weekend, I've seen the result of one of those networking opportunities. Many months ago, at an author event in one of my local bookshops, I mentioned to one of the other authors that it would be nice to do an author event at a National Trust property. Now, this other author happened to be a volunteer at my local National Trust property, and so she approached them. They turned out to be enthusiastic about the idea. For the first May Bank Holiday each year, they hold a Secondhand Book Fair, so it seemed natural to have local Shropshire Authors selling and signing their books at the same fair.
Now both of us are members of the same writer's circle too, so the idea expanded into making it an event where we could publicise some of our work as a group too. We ran a writing competition for children and adults to enter, encouraging them to write about anything connected with their visit to the National Trust property at Attingham Park. We're looking forward to judging the entries as they come in, and we've even got a representative from the National Trust getting involved in the judging too.
Not only did the event turn out to be a useful sales opportunity, but because we'd tried to contact as many writers as we could who lived in the area with books to sell, we met with many whom we'd never seen before.
We also managed to get a local book distributor to come along too, and they wandered around the stalls looking at all of the books on offer. As a result, I know that they will be buying copies of my walking book 'Best Walks in the Welsh Borders' from my publisher's sale rep who happens to be visiting them today! Which also means that my books will soon be in many more local shops and retail outlets, perfect for the market.
So from that one small idea many, many months ago, somehow, through a lot of hard work and determination from several members of the writer's circle and the staff and volunteers at the National Trust, we had a great event. And it was interesting to hear both authors and visitors mentioning an event 'next year' too. Oo-er, what have we done?
And of course, it goes without saying, I shall be 'writing about what I know' and I hope to get an article or two out of this!
This exercise clearly shows that you benefit from the hard work that you put into something. So put the work into your writing, and you'll reap the benefits too.