Thursday, September 29, 2011

Barnes & Noble on Rittenhouse Square in Philadelphia

There are friends in my life who refuse to acknowledge my accomplishment of publishing my debut novel, and even though I have told them to read the nine glowing reviews of Swiss Chocolate on Amazon, they won’t go there, claiming they don’t have the time. I don’t know the reasoning behind this; it may be because they are jealous of my success, and don’t want to validate me. On the other hand, perhaps they just don’t give a damn.

Nailing a book event front and center at Barnes & Noble on Rittenhouse Square in Philadelphia is a very big deal. They don’t usually do this for many new writers. A lot of my friends asked me how I managed to pull off such a coup. It was a combination of luck, timing and salesmanship. Temple University is my alma mater, where I earned my B.A. in Journalism. The Journalism Department had just posted a news item that I had published my debut novel, and Jeff Cronin, a staff member at the University, agreed to distribute flyers a week before the event, which I had custom made. All of this I showed to the CRM, and she agreed to book my event. I was floored.

Beyond that, my little sister agreed to show up with all her friends, and one of my old friends who I still keep in touch with will be bringing some of his. This may be the event that puts me over the top. They ordered thirty books, and the CRM told me they get a lot of foot traffic, which is why she is putting me right at the front door. I am a very aggressive salesman, and the first thing I do when a person comes near me is extend my hand and introduce myself and my book. I always ask for the sale, but asking for the sale is all about the inflection in your voice. You need to be positive and firm. If they say no, I always ask them to read the first couple of paragraphs, telling them if they like the beginning I will sign a copy for them right now and they will have a first edition. If they still say no, I hand them a flyer to read at their convenience. My flyer contains the back cover blurb and some of my best reviews. On several occasions people have come back to buy the book.

Wish me luck this Sunday. I am looking forward to selling lots of books.

Love to all!

James M. Weil

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