October 31, 2017

Marketing your book in person

When the Crescent City public library hosted “Meet & Greet the Authors” at the Crescent City Woman’s Club last weekend, this well-organized event gave me an opportunity to meet other writers and readers in my area. I sold more books in our small town than I’d sold over the past few months on Amazon, and I also learned a lot!

People want to get to know you before they buy your books.

Since most readers also want to know more about the area in which they live, book browsers seemed especially interested in my poetry from a natural Florida perspective. And, they hung around book tables where other authors had histories and mysteries set in our state or county.

Books on your locale will be most apt to sell.

Although it’s not yet November, I made a point of mentioning how some of my books might make nice gifts for Christmas. Then, I asked if the buyer wanted me to sign a book with the name of the person for whom they’d bought the gift or, in case they seemed unsure, if they wanted an autograph with a greeting appropriate for anyone.

Children’s books do particularly well as gifts.

Generic signings might be “God bless” or “Happy reading!” followed by an autograph.

Did I mention that I sign in pencil? My handwriting has deteriorated a bit, plus I’m apt to misspell my own name! An ink pen would have marred 3 signings, but as it was, I could easily erase.

Having someone (in my case, my supportive husband) to take monies, make change, and note which titles sold was another big plus as this left me free to chat with people, answer questions, and simply ask, “What do you like to read?” That latter question helped me to direct buyers toward titles that might interest them the most – even though they said they don’t normally buy poetry!

In addition to this event, which featured about a dozen writers and their books, our public library often invites locals poets and writers to give readings, which can be another opportunity to market a book. Those occasions also give a chance to answer questions and talk about what evoked a subject, scene, or poem, which inevitably interests potential book buyers even more.

Besides investigating what your local library has to offer, other opportunities for marketing your books in person can occur when you’re a guest speaker in a public school, bookstore, community building, church fellowship hall, or club meeting. If no such events have been planned, consider asking about the possibilities or organizing an event yourself.

Mary Harwell Sayler, ©2017, poet-author

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