April 20th

Supanova Part One: How did I get here?

Category: Supanova

I thought I would write a post about my Supanova journey for readers who like a glimpse behind the scenes and for other authors who are interested in conventions and wondering about the mysterious process. Generally, unless you are a big time superstar, most authors pay their own way. Some cover their expenses in part while their publisher contributes to accommodation or flights. It depends on your agreement with your publisher. I have been on several paid tours, conventions and festivals but for this trip, I paid my own way.

(Publisher’s Precinct with Lynette Noni & Alan Baxter)

Artist’s Alley or Publisher’s Precinct?

Some authors pay for a booth in Artist’s Alley, supply their own stock and hand sell their books. Full disclosure, I have no idea how you book a booth but the benefit to this approach is that you take your profits home in your pocket. However, you don’t get the book scan numbers that come through a retailer. If you’re an indie author this might be the best approach but you have to be willing to hustle. To have a seat in Publisher’s Precinct where your books are supplied and sold by the event bookseller – QBD bookshop – you must be invited by Supanova as a guest. The benefits to this approach are that you don’t have to organise your own stock, worry about money, floats or cash machines and you get book scan numbers. You are included in author panels and participate in the Showcase and Friday night Book Club. As a guest, you have access to the Green Room, breakfast, morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea. You get transport to and from the event and an invitation to the Saturday night cocktail party. Supanova advertise and promote your involvement online and kindly volunteer helpers guide you around at the event.

(Publisher’s Precinct with Corey J White, Marlee Jane Ward, Katya de Becerra, Astrid Scholt)

Pitching and Planning:

When my publicist pitched me to Supanova, I did my sums and said my prayers. Supanova run 3 tours each year, usually with one big city and one smaller.

March: Melbourne/Gold Coast

June: Sydney/Perth

November: Adelaide/Brisbane

When my publicist pitches me for events they provide a packet of information about my work and my presenting experience, details about past festivals and events, including links to reviews, my website, my social media platforms. The guest co-ordinator does their homework and decides if I’m a good fit for the event.

Sooner than I could have anticipated, an official invitation came through. An open invitation! Which tour would I like to do? All of them? I danced a jig around my living room then settled down to proper panic. What could we afford? I decided on an easy-does-it approach. Commit to one tour. Would I do both cities? How much time off work would I need. Oh, Lord. I braced myself to break the news to my husband. Honey, how would you feel about me taking a week off work, abandoning you and the children and flying to Australia? Erm … sure? I suggested doing one city, to soften the blow. My husband said, do both and stay the week in between! Had he recently hit his head? Would my school (where I teach) give me leave? Yes.

I booked my tickets and accommodation with a mighty gulp.

I decided to organise my down time between the Melbourne and Gold Coast events to make it as productive as possible. (Keep an eye-out for my upcoming post about connecting with Aussie authors, my bookshop tour and Dark Imaginings event.)

Announcements and Advertising

Starting a few months out from the event, announcements were made on social media and advertising kicked in. These were designed and promoted by Supanova with no cost to me. I boosted their advertising assets on my social media platforms and via my newsletter.

Instagram, Twitter and Facebook

The Supanova Website

Closer to the event on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook

(The Supanova event program)


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Rachael is a member of the New Zealand Society of Authors and you can visit the NZSA at http://www.authors.org.nz/ and the Top of the South branch http://www.topwriters.co.nz/. Her publisher is Walker Books Australia http://www.walkerbooks.com.au/