Tuesday, October 4, 2011

How to Sell Books at Book Events

Most writers sit at a table with a stack of books in front of them, playing with their BlackBerrys until someone approaches them. This is fine if you are a big name and you know people will come, but if you are just starting out you need to be a lot more aggressive.

People by nature will try to ignore you as they come through the door and walk right past you. You need to get their attention immediately by holding out your hand and introducing yourself. Unless they are total assholes, they will stop to shake your hand. At this point you pick up your book and show them the cover, and then flip it over so they can read the back cover blurb. There will be questions, and you need to have answers ready with confidence. From there you always ask for the sale. The inflection in your voice and attitude makes all the difference in the world. Remember to always smile.

If they still seem disinterested, ask them to read the first page. If that draws them in then you will have a sale. I usually have a sale after they read my blurb and a few questions and answers. Sometimes I let them take the book with them and read a chapter or two, and if they are still disinterested, just drop the book off with me on the way out. I always go to events with plenty of bookmarks advertising my book and listing my website, which I give to them as they leave.

I also print full-color flyers from a template I created that has my synopsis and a few of my best reviews. Often times people will take one and then come back and buy a book. This is not hard selling, but you need to be a bit aggressive without being completely obnoxious. Lots of bookstore managers have told me that I have outsold some of their bestselling writers. It's all about attitude.

Love to all!

James M. Weil

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