The Blog/Diary of Novelist Sam Batterman

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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

ICRS 2009 Denver, Colorado

It was nice to return to the state I grew up in. I had forgotten how much I love mountains. ICRS – the International Christian Retail Show—is the largest Christian Bookstore show in the world. Bill Carmichael, the president of VMI Publishers, invited me to represent them with two other authors. From the moment I received the invitation to ICRS I was conflicted – excited about seeing what the business was really like and a bit scared about being the “low man on the totem pole.” After a day of making it out to Denver, I met Bill Carmichael for dinner with his lovely wife, Nancie Carmichael, who has a huge list of books to her own credit, and the two other authors I would be signing with.

Michelle Rae Eich has written an interesting novel called Wolf Boy: A Case of Mistaken Identity. It’s a modern day allegory and it takes a very creative approach. I instantly liked the idea upon hearing it. Dr. David Gustafson was the other author. He’s a Senior Fellow and a scientist at Monsanto in St. Louis and his book was called Reaping the Real Whirlwind: A Christian Response to Global Warming. (You can hear an interview from David here). Regardless of your views on this very controversial subject you owe it to yourself to hear his viewpoint.

One of the things that’s neat about ICRS is seeing the “famous” authors signing and walking the floor. For example, Josh McDowell (Evidence that Demands a Verdict), Oliver North, Terri Blackstock (my sister is a huge fan and it was cool to get a signed copy for her), Jerry Jenkins (he wrote a little series called Left Behind) were all there—even Marie Osmond made a showing (Whoop-dee-stinkin'-doo).

I was able to do two interviews – one with the Dish Network and one with Destiny Internet Radio. Destiny will be up in a few weeks and I’ll provide a link from this site once it’s available.
I gave out 24 copies of my book to influencers and bookstore owners from all over the United States and my signing gave out another 100 or so. It was neat to tell people the pitch of Wayback and watch their expressions as they began to imagine the world contained in my first book.

Here are a few pics from the show...

Here's Terri Blackstock and yours truly

Josh McDowell of "Evidence that Demands a Verdict" fame.

The man who changed it all - Jerry Jenkins of "Left Behind"

My Signing Poster

Sara Peters and the gals from the Living Word Bookstore in Lousiville, KY - they are some of my biggest fans! It was so cool to finally meet them in person.

Waiting for the line to form - will anyone come?
Me, Michelle Rae Eich, Dr. David Gustufson, Coach Bill McCartney

...and then they came. *Whew*
...100 books gone in 45 minutes!

What did I learn?
As I’ve written here before, I really enjoy the storytelling aspect of writing. I love the research, the plotting and developing the characters ... and I really enjoying hearing a fan or reader tell me what they liked - as if they have mentally gone to the place that I did in the book.

But – and that’s a BIG but!
It has to sell to allow me to write more books. This is a business that’s insensitive to new authors and isn’t really trying to acquire new, un-proven talent. Publishers are staying with the big bets – authors that sell thousands of copies in a predictable fashion. So, now it’s up to the author to do a great deal of their own marketing and brand management. That means developing a fan base and an audience for your work. This won’t happen for me instantly – nobody yet knows me in the author capacity, so I have a long way to go. I am learning on the go how to do marketing, promotion, salesmanship and how to develop myself as a brand. It’s hard work and no one has the exact formula for success.

God helping me, I am going to continue down this road. Hope you enjoyed this post.


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