Tuesday, December 6, 2016

And the Holiday Season is Upon Us

Many authors are now participating in Christmas boutiques and craft shows, and I just did one too.

I thought I'd make a comment about authors who do these. I know that it's fun to be with other authors, but sometimes that can be a problem. I've noticed too often that if two or more authors are together, they tend to spend a lot of time chatting with one another instead of paying  attention to those who are passing by.

For me, I find that I'll sell more books if I stand up and make eye contact with those passing by. And if they do glance my way, I ask, "Do you like to read mysteries?" Those who aren't at all interested will shake their heads, or say they don't read, or only read non-fiction, but many will stop and listen to what I have to say about my books. Once I've had that opportunity to give a few short sentences about my series, they'll often ask questions, and will probably purchase a book or two.

Another problem I've seen is the author leaving his/her post to go visit with others. No one is going to buy your books if you aren't there to sell it. I've seen people stop at an unmanned table, pick up books and then look around to see who was there to talk to--no one. Then the potential buyer moves on.

Because authors work alone, it's great to finally have someone who know about writing be available to visit with--but do it when there are no customers or readers walking by. Interrupt your conversation if needed.

And smile at everyone. Look like you're enjoying yourself even if you aren't. Maybe you're way out of your comfort zone, but you signed up for the event to sell books so that's what you should do.

And with that, I'll sign off--but tell me what you think--both readers and writers.



Morgan Mandel said...

Yes, it's nice to get some company, even from a fellow author. However, at a book signing, the customers always come first! You can't look too engaged with your friend, or people will get intimated and flee, instead of stopping by.

Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

That's the truth, Morgan. I fixed my typos since you've been here.

Amy Bennett said...

It doesn't matter where you are... an author's primary duty at any event where book sales are the focus is to sell books! Even at book talks it's easy to be drawn into conversation with one or two people and ignore the other half dozen who want to buy a book. Great post, Marilyn! And Janet Greger and I agree that an author who sits behind the table will sell fewer books than one that stands up to meet potential readers and ask if they like to read!

Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

you and Janet are exactly right!

Linda Thorne said...

My experience is limited compared to yours, but you are "right on" in your observations of exhibits, and author tents set up at various events. I do the "being there" part needed when readers want to ask about my book, but my author friends have told me I need to be a little more friendly and I need to look passersby in the eye and start a conversation.

Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

You don't have to be aggressive, it's more a matter of putting yourself out there--smiling, making eye contact and asking folks if they like to read.