Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Pitching for Fall Events, and the Emotional Rollercoaster that Comes with the Territory.

Needless to say, the bookstore is an emotional rollercoaster.  When traffic is good, all is well with the world.  When we have a slow day, I start worrying about the state of the industry, the state of Milwaukee, the state of our block, or all three.

This can often play into my attitude about hosting or not hosting events.  When we had a nice crowd of folks for Ronnie Hess and Joan Peterson, who drove over from Madison for Eat Smart in France, I thought, "Sure, let's do another."  When 180 people came out of the woodwork for Anne Lamott for a ticketed event (I say this as most people bought tickets to our wonderful evening at Alverno in the last four days--here's a photo of Lamott), I thought, "Yes, let's do more!"

When we had a small crowd for two comics but a large one for The Oatmeal, my answer was, "Humor needs Powerpoints!"  Never mind that Matthew Inman's website gets hits that would daze most other humorists, I seem to need to find a lesson from every event.

And so now that I am making proposals for fall 2011 events, I find myself looking at our last few event successes and wanting to duplicate them.  Grant Achatz ticketed event in the store?  Try that.  A popular reading in Italian?  What other languages have translated authors on tour?

Health and fitness events are hard, but for some reason, these folks seem to tour a lot. Serious nonfiction, which does very well with us?  Not so much.  Some publishers listen, while others are either not hot on us, Milwaukee, or sometimes even the entire midwest.  But we keep trying, and if it's anything like last year, come September we'll have an event booked in just about every open slot we have. 

Looking forward to it!

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