Would You Buy a Used Car From This Person?
How About A Book?
I’ve posted my thoughts on building a local readership several times, but once in a while, it seems like a good idea to address it again, especially when I’ve been to an author event like yesterday’s Authors Fair at the Deltona Regional Library. I know it might not be something everyone enjoys as much as I do, but I really think attending local events where you can meet not only readers, but other writers, is a great way to promote your books, and most importantly, yourself.
I stress the importance of promoting yourself, because I have a theory that if readers meet you face to face, and enjoy chatting with you, they are very likely to buy a book or two that you’ve written. If not at the event, then later, for their Kindle, or whenever they are in the mood to go browsing at Amazon. (Of course, you must enjoy chatting with them, as well. They’ll know if you’re faking it.)
It’s not about the sales you make that day, which can be iffy. It’s about the ones that will be coming later, because of the interest generated from your table, and from your sparkling personality. You do have one of those, right? *grin* If not, work on it. But remember, everyone sparkles in a different way. Be yourself, be friendly, rather than pushy, and enjoy a laugh or two with those you chat with.
And the importance of meeting other writers, especially local ones, can’t be overstated, for several reasons. First, writers are truly the most supportive and informative group of people, ever. They are almost always willing to share experience, resources, knowledge, and pretty much anything else connected to the business of writing and marketing books. And, they (mostly) seem to know that their fellow writers are not competition, but rather a cheering section. After all, buying a book isn’t like picking out a sofa. Readers don’t buy one, and then stop. In fact, when readers enjoy a good book, all it does is make them want to read another one, right away. So, as with most businesses today, networking is a key factor. Author events offer you the opportunity to learn from, and share with, each other.
For instance, yesterday, I found out several very handy and interesting things about subjects as diverse as editing a book already published on CreateSpace, local book clubs, and even (believe it or not), the mask of King Tut! 🙂 And I also learned that my personal presentations and talks of the past year meant that a lot of folks who stopped by my table had met me before, read at least one of my books, and were looking for more. My Secret Plan is working! My immediate sales were better than I expected, and online purchases afterward went up, too.
After an event like yesterday, where there were forty authors present, or even after one of my (solo) PowerPoint presentations at local venues, I always see an uptick in sales on Amazon. Even those who don’t purchase a book from me the day of the event, often go home and check out my books online, where they can read the full blurb at their leisure, and see what others have to say, before buying. And this is fine with me. I’ll sell eBooks all day long, and smile with every download.
Finally, let me just (gently) urge you to get away from the computer now and then, so you can meet your readers (and other authors) face to face. You will learn a lot about what folks want from your books, and about how other writers approach the craft. And best of all, it’s fun!
Of all the local Meet the Author events I do, none is more fun than an Eco-Tour aboard the Naiad, with a local book club or other group. An afternoon on the St. Johns River is a treat for everyone, and halfway through the two-hour tour, we stop long enough for me to do a reading, then continue the scenic cruise. Back at the marina, I sign books and do some Q&A, and we all go home tired and happy. I have two Eco-tours coming up soon. April 30 and May 27. Call Doug or Jeanne at (386) 626-9004 for reservations. Hope to see some of you there! 🙂
Now it’s your turn. How many of you actively pursue opportunities of this kind? What has worked for you, and what hasn’t? Inquiring minds wanna know!