Sunday, August 12, 2012


On August 4th I had a signing at Barnes & Noble in Mishawaka, Indiana.  The store provided a large poster next to the table and chair with my book and download sheets for their Nook Book electronic device across from the checkout lane.  A great setting – or is it.

I discovered while being close to the mall entrance to the large store it wasn’t where people entering the store would see me when they first walked in.  I also noted many people that were not interested with having interaction with an unknown author on site would look the opposite way when they did walk by.  Some would take a cursory glance at the poster and quickly hurry past in the hope of not making eye contact.   These are some of the challenges an author faces when participating in a book signing event.
When a person was idly walking around the book shelves and tables picking up books and laying them back down I asked if they were looking for anything special and then offered my book to “take a look.”  Some said maybe later and I would give them my business card that has a small thumbnail picture of the cover, the link to the book and my name and email address. 

But let’s talk about the ones that purchased the book or download sheet.   The customer and I engaged in conversation about the book and how I came to write it.  It might be a 2-minute conversation or it could be up to 10 minutes we talked.  The result of interaction with the customer was the sale of another copy of the book. 
Interaction with the customer – that is the key to marketing.  As authors we often forget that being visible is a part of writing.  People like to put a face with the books they are reading.  Unless one is a bestselling author with an easily recognized name it is essential to make contact with our audience regularly.  Sometimes it might be a bookstore where we bring our books and make arrangements with the manager/owner to sell our books sharing the profits with the store.  Other times we may be fortunate and be invited to a larger chain where the store provides the books and we simply make an effort to communicate with the public and assist the store in making that sale. 

We all know that book clubs and libraries along with rotaries and the Lion’s Clubs are good places to be a speaker and sell copies of our books after the talk.  I discovered at library talks a question and answer time at the end is helpful as well. 
Another good place to “get the word out” is at your church.  Church members participate in a signing event, especially when a tithe of the profits is donated to the church (which is a given anyway).  Another thing about a church signing event is that a talk can be incorporated into an event.  I participated in a church event that allowed me to talk about my novels.  Several members of the church purchased my book and were asking when the next one would be out.  Whatever clubs one belongs to offers a venue for making sales; and sales lead to word-of-mouth that leads to more sales and eventually recognition.

So don’t be shy about answering, “I’m an author,” when someone asks what you do.  It most likely will be the first step to being invited to speak or to come and sell that next bestseller at an event. 
Happy Selling!!