This was my first time attending the Orlando Reads Books Convention. It’s a three-day event held at the Embassy Suites in Altamonte Springs, FL. The first two days were “Industry Days” with workshops for advanced authors. These talks blew my mind with info I hadn’t heard before. Topics included Mastering the Art of Ad Strategy, AI in Your Author Business, Tackle the Trifecta Touch – Email, SMS and MMS, Strategizing Your Way to 10k a Month, and Author Direct Sales. The speakers were excellent. I took notes and still need to absorb all the data.
Saturday held reader events. I participated in the Author-Reader Speed Dating. Authors were assigned tables, and there were six authors at mine with four empty seats for readers. The moderator could have used a bell to ring when it was time for readers to switch tables because she had to shout to be heard. I gave out a lot of postcards and hoped to see some of these readers at the signing.
A lunch break of an hour and a half followed. We were on our own, and I’d brought my lunch from home. At 1:30, we began to set up for the booksigning. VIP Readers would be allowed in at 2:30, and the doors would open to the public from 3:00 to 6:00. We’d been given seating charts ahead of time so it was easy to find my spot.
Overall, book sales for me were disappointing. I sold only 4 books, swapped books with 2 other cozy authors, and gave one away for the raffle. But… I met a lot of people, gave out postcards to readers, and attended some powerhouse workshops. I’d say the majority of writers did contemporary, paranormal or urban fantasy romance. Someone said paranormal romance is swinging toward fantasy. A smattering of cozy authors represented the genre.
I’d signed up to share a six-foot table and that was adequate. It didn’t appear that displaying books on racks made any difference to sales. I had fun seeing what other authors offered for swag. The usual magnets, key chains, candy, pens, stickers and other goodies prevailed. I liked the glow headsets one author provided. QR codes were popular among this crowd. These could send readers to Bookfunnel for a free book, or to a retail site or a newsletter signup. The codes were engraved on a fan, put on a sticker at the back of a lollipop, or came on a business card.
Would I go again? Yes. The fee was worth it alone for the networking and advanced seminars.
Next year’s dates are set for Oct. 10-12, 2024. Go here for more info: https://orlandoreadsbooks.com/
Coming Next: ORB Social Events & Workshops