Greetings. I'm Sophie Dawson, a new contributor to Author Culture. I've self published the first two books of the Christian Historical Fiction Cottonwood Series, Healing Love and Lord's Love. The third book, Giving Love is set for release in December 2012.
I live in a very rural area of Illinois. The county has 16,000 people. The town my children went to school in, which is the largest, has 3600. Surprise, not all of Illinois is Chicago and the suburbs. It takes an hour to get to the outskirts of a town over 30,000.
The challenge is to find creative ways to attract attention to your books when there are so few outlets conveniently located. As a self published author, and a new one at that, getting your books into retail outlets is a challenge, especially with the need to drive so far to speak with anyone about it.
I launched my first book, Healing Love, this past June at a local festival. Aledo, IL is the self proclaimed Rhubarb Capital of the World. For the past 20 years heat, cold, rain and shine, for two days on the first weekend in June Rhubarb has been celebrated. Each year it gains more visitors.
I rented a half space, set up my table and sold my book. I was pleased with the results. I sold over 50 paperback books which may not seem like a lot but for me it was a great start. I plan to launch a book each year at Rhubarb Fest and find other festivals in the area to use as launching platforms.
It only cost me the booth space fee, two days of my time and some labor of hauling and setting up of my booth. Oh, smiling and being friendly is important too. I had also sent press releases in the area newspapers, making sure I called to insure the correct person had received it. A number of people who came to the festival said they had seen it in the paper that morning.
I know it's as unconventional way to do a book launch but it worked for me. My third book Giving Love, will be launched during Aledo's Holly Days. At least I'll be in the VFW and won't have to worry about the weather, unless we have a blizzard and can't get there.