By: Sara Matz | A five-minute read
As writers, we spend a lot of time at our computers: the countless hours to write a book, editing (so much editing), formatting, marketing, never-ending social media…. Sometimes it’s hard to budget the time to go out and sell your book face to face. But, you’re the creative type, and now is the time to put that right brain to work. Word of mouth marketing is one of the strongest marketing tools you have, so let’s get out there and tell people about your book!
Where do we begin?
A few months ago, I went over how to plan a book signing and a launch party, let’s touch on that again. Having an event that is open to friends, their friends and other people interested in the topic of your book is a crucial part of launching your book marketing. Whereas having a book signing in a local book store is an easy way to engage with people you may have never gotten the chance to bump into before, there are so many other events to utilize along the way.
Think beyond the book store. Try and set up a book signing in a venue that supports your book’s content with less competition. A fitness and workout book hits a more targeted market if you can set a date at your local gym, or on the flipside, your baking recipe book would get more views in your local bakery.
Book fairs and other vending opportunities are often more successful than a simple book signing. Why? People are more likely to impulsively spend money on your book because that is what they are there to do. Vending at a smaller, relatively local convention is a great way to get networking with people with a predisposition to read similar content to your writing. Starting with a smaller event will also help your risk-cost analysis since the vending fees are significantly lower (NY Book Expo might take a few years to work up to 😉). If you have other artistic hobbies, put them out on your vending tables too; you’re a multi-talented person, after all, let all of your skills work together to get you and your book the attention it deserves.
When interacting with potential buyers, if it’s possible, stand. It presents you more welcoming and enthusiastic. Don’t overextend yourself though. Sit during your slow times as most vending days can be extremely long.
Get comfortable with small talk
Small talk gets a bad rep. most of the time, but it doesn’t always have to be about the weather or the local sports team. When you greet someone, have a friendly question ready that the response leaves an opportunity to talk about yourself a little bit. Where are you from? Are you a fan of the Dune book series? What’s your favorite thing you’ve experienced here today? The goal should be as personable as possible, sell yourself then interest in the book will follow.
Maybe an elevator pitch is more your speed. You should be able to sell your book in under two minutes at this point, right? No one knows your book better than you do, so don’t sell yourself short. Did you write just another general historical fiction book or a historical fiction book that takes place during WWI that revolves around the story of Franz Ferdinand’s assassination? Be specific and throw a few things about your book that separate you from others in your genre. Perhaps you have a steamy forbidden romance causing major conflict behind the scenes of the parts based on factual events. Hook your potential readers with catchy, nuanced plot points.
Have a different variation of your pitch for each situation you could find yourself in. Vending at a convention will have a completely different feel than talking to your coworkers, or selling at a book signing. Take some time to alter how you greet people and take a few seconds to read into if someone is ready to hear your sales pitch, especially when you’re guerrilla marketing out at social events. No one wants to feel like they are hearing a sales pitch, it should feel peppered into casual conversations rather than a rehearsed speech.
If you have a strong social media presence, there is a chance fans of yours could be at events you are vending at! Offering a signed copy of their book or other swag is a lasting impression, and likely for them to post about how great it was to meet you online. 😉
If you are attending a convention, don’t let your mingling and sales be limited to standing behind a vending table. Hopefully, you are attending an event that you’re interested in, so get out there and enjoy it! Sitting in on panels is a great way to learn some tips about writing and selling in your industry, and just as great at finding connections to authors that would be supportive past this event. Making connections to other authors can lead to cross-promotional opportunities for both of you leading to a long-term benefit as you share fans. Simple solutions like promoting each other’s books on your social media or featuring content on your blogs is a favor you can do for each other at a minimal cost. Selling your book at an event does not end when you leave the building… Every business card you’ve passed out, every connection you make, and all of the post-event marketing you plan to do are all cogs in the machine to sales success.
Build your perfect marketing kit
What is your plan for potential readers that aren’t ready to buy today? Your marketing “go-bag” should be the solution to the 3 main goals of event marketing:
- Be Seen
- Be Remembered
- Be Unique
The look of your table set up is very important to bringing interested readers to you organically. Have something sizable and eye-catching set up like a promotional banner across the table and standing near your area. Choose colors that complement your book cover, as you should also get some stands for on your tabletop that flashes the cover you designed to attract readers like moths to a flame. Especially if you are setting up a book signing, you need to grab the attention of readers that might have come into the book store with a different purchase in mind, as you are in competition with the other titles around you.
Don’t let a single captivated bookworm walk away without at least your business card, magnet, or bookmark! I would love it if everyone could remember your name or the title of your book once they walk away, but that is just not realistic. A little reminder tucked into their wallet or even more predominantly marking pages of a book they are currently reading raising the probability of being their next read. Having other swag available for fans is a fun idea when you start having a following. I have seen authors with self-help books drum up excitement from their success stories with mugs and tee shirts, as well as authors with stunning covers sell knick-knacks as frequently as books!
Have a sign-up sheet on your table to collect contact information, Sign everyone up to your blog and email list and keep them up to date on your future endeavors!
The most crucial thing you can do to sell more books is getting out there! Talk yourself up at the bar, your family gatherings, and of course at events you schedule. Once you have a little practice you’ll be as confident selling your book as a Mary Kay representative, and that figurative little pink car will be yours!
As one of the Author Success Consultants for AnewPress, it’s my goal to assist you in getting your book from concept to sales. If you have any questions about publishing, let me know.