Authors sell books face to face because of the relationship they establish with their potential readers. Think about walking into a market and seeing someone selling soap or something similar. You think “oh that’s nice.” and then the seller engages you in conversation about almost anything and you walk out with a bar of soap.
We attended our first book event yesterday. We’ve done another face to face event but it was not related to books. During the event, we watched what other vendors were doing. Here is what we learned.
- Some stalls did great but they drew on their personal connections to bring people in. The people looked for these stalls, when they found them, they went directly there chatted, purchased, and then left usually without checking out anything else.
- Most potential customers wandered the stalls, some engaging with book sellers, most book sellers did nothing to actively encourage engagement.
- Very few book sellers checked out the competition ( We found this odd, if not the least to see what types of covers others are doing, how well sales are going).
- Our QR codes were taken easily. They were in the form of bookmarks and we’ll get some done up in post card format next (for variety).
- Engaging people is easy. This is how to do it.
- Stand not sit
- Greet people – “I love the colour of your shirt”, “Wow, your hair colours are fantastic”, “Do you like reading science fiction?” etc.
- Have something to give. We used bookmarks with covers on one side and QR codes on the other.
- Accept multiple forms of payment
- When you engage people, you learn about your market and what they like.
We only accepted cash and then expected people to go to Amazon and purchase from Amazon. This lost us definate sales (time will tell if people go to Amazon). Next time we will have a Square as well as a virtual option for people to pay with.
We drummed up plenty of potential people to join our self publishing workshops, which sounds an odd tactic but 50% of people who attend the workshops buy one of the books we produce. It’s not why we run workshops, we run them to facilitate the sharing of knowledge of self publishing, but it is a nice bonus.