I have had the pleasure of calling Jude Johnson a friend and colleague. She is a vivacious spirit and is eager to help any writer. Today, I wanted to spotlight an event she’s hosting in Tucson, Az on November 23rd from 9am until 3 pm. I hope you can stop by and say hi to all of the wonderful local authors in the area…and me of course. 🙂
1. Tell us a little bit about Gecko Gals Inc.
We are Gecko Gals Ink, to indicate we are writers. Five sassy, “Differently Expertised” writers who are first and foremost, friends who support one another. We give back to the Tucson community by offering seminars for writers who wish to become published and workshops for teens to strengthen their writing skills.
2. Do you find paring with other authors helps you organize signings, events, etc? Does it help you with sales, for instance? Does it add to or decrease the “time factor” of promotion?
It is said that writing is a lonely business, which is true in the creation process. But marketing and selling your books doesn’t have to be. We’ve found that book signings are often a crapshoot—sometimes the public is in the mood for your stuff, sometimes they aren’t. If you are with an author of a different genre, you increase the odds that one of you will have what the customer desires. At the very least you’ll have company with whom to commiserate if the traffic is poor and sales slow. But quite often I’ve found once the sales ice breaks so to speak, people are more inclined to purchase from more than one author. We’ve also learned we Geckos can be in two or even three places at once with one or two members at one event, one member at another, and still one more at a third. Unfortunately, we each still have to market, which is the bane of authors everywhere.
3. Tell us a little bit about the All-Zona Book Fest. What is it? What brought it about?
This is the Second (Maybe-Annual) All-Zona Book Fest and we’ll be at St. Francis Cabrini Church Hall, 3201 East Presidio Road in Tucson. You could say we’re the Indie Channel for Arizona authors: giving authors the opportunity to shine and readers the chance to find a new storyteller to follow. This year we have forty-six authors involved; some you may have heard about, some are freshly published for the first time. We’ll be working with KVOA Channel Four’s Kristi’s Kids to collect book donations for school-aged children (K-12) which will be distributed through Reading Seed Literacy Volunteers. St. Vincent DePaul charity is also holding a Silent Auction and White Elephant sale and will have refreshments available for a nominal price.
What brought it about? We saw a need. We have some great book festivals in this state that bring in big names and best sellers. Nothing wrong with that at all. Unfortunately, local treasures can get lost in the shuffle. Even with the sea change in publishing moving from traditional large houses/distribution to smaller regional presses, independents, and ebooks, many large festivals still exclude authors going that route from participating in a significant manner. We wanted to showcase those authors and give the public a way to find them in an easily accessible way. The All-Zona Bookfest is also happy to work with and support one of Tucson’s feisty independent bookstores, Mostly Books.
(For more about this event, please visit: http://geckogalsink.wix.com/all-zonabookfest)
4. What is the number one piece of advice you would give to a new author trying to make it in today’s market?
“Drink heavily.” (Ha ha, kidding. Maybe.)
“Close your eyes and jump.” Don’t be afraid to try new markets, new ways to promote, or new events to learn what works best for you. Failure isn’t fatal. It’s a great teacher. We all have so much to learn.
To learn more about the lovely writers at Gecko Gals Inc., here’s where you can find them: