More and more we hear as authors that there has to be a reason for people to notice your work. Good writing? That's nice. Great characters? Sweet. But what's the hook? Why should people pick up your book and not one of the other 89,999 that will be published each year?
It's not fair that books have to be shilled as well as skilled, but who said life was fair? What's an author to do if she refuses to dress up in period costume, follow people around bookstores dinning them into buying the book, or sit in the dunk tank at the local county fair?
My solution is to draw on my years of teaching and offer to speak at various events, hoping that name recognition will pay off in sales. It's the slow and laborious way, but it seems to be working for me. I've spoken in Michigan, Illinois, and Florida and I'm expanding into Wisconsin. Audiences like hearing about their favorite genres (I do mostly mystery and historical novel talks) and getting a look inside the business as I share what authors say about their writing. It gives them new books to try, it fits my personal style, and for sure, it beats wearing a kilt to my booksignings!