Where To Toot Your Horn
Bazaars, Fairs, Holiday Showcases
These are always fun. I love to go and get terrific ideas. Rarely do I ever buy anything. I’ve found that if the event has young children putting on a tumbling routine or a high school choir singing, parents and friends will flock to see their loved ones perform. Then they leave. This has now happened to me twice. The first time there wasn’t a cost for me to have a display. The second time there was. Both times I sold a few books. I broke even. The other vendors had similar results. What should I have done?
1. Talk to others that had participated in the event in years past.
2. Talk to people who had attended the event and ask about their opinions and purchases.
3. See if there is an opportunity to speak to a group. I’ve found that my words have power when I talk one on one. Give me a warm body to visit as opposed to throngs of people chasing after their little ones.
4. If there is a cost to set up I’m probably going to pass.
5. Don’t forget to factor in the cost of driving.
Schools, Libraries and Book Clubs
These are my very favorite! Here you have a captive audience. They are interested in the writing life and are very curious. By planning ahead I’ve let the organization know that I’ll have books available. After my talk I generally sell more books in an hour than I ever did sitting behind a table all morning at a fair. The fun part is when you see a student at the mall and they rush up to you saying how much they loved your book. Just yesterday someone told me they were reading my book ahead of the new Sandra Brown novel. (Yes. I gasped.) She had attended one of my book talks on An Unlikely Hero. Another lady saw me and wanted to know when the sequel would be ready. She could hardly wait. Both these ladies were involved in meetings where I spoke. Things that work for me.
1. Be brief with your book talk so there is time for questions.
2. Help your audience relate to the book. Why would it be a good fit for them?
3. Dress for success. People have this idea of what a writer looks like. Don’t disappoint them. Make an impression.
4. Don’t be afraid to share something about yourself. Knowing something about my favorite author makes me feel a connection. You never know who you might inspire.
5. Some children forget to bring money to school to purchase your book but they still want an autograph. Have postcards or bookmarks with the cover of your book along with information on where to purchase it. Chances are a parent will make it happen.