Tuesday, April 12, 2011
HAND-SELL YOUR BOOKS? OH, MY!
Yep, you heard authors lament about never wanting to sell their books out of the back of their cars - uh, huh. That those poor Indie authors have to push books in this demeaning way, and hand-selling books is just too darned hard.
Well, not true, all authors should learn the art of hand-selling their books.
WHAT IS HAND SELLING BOOKS
The art of suggesting books to people using displays, newsletters, postcards, reading groups, and casual discussions or even…in inventive ways. It is with independent titles that flourish through word of mouth. It can get your book into bookstores. It can get your book into libraries. It can get your book just about … anywhere. As well as incite others to hand-sell for you :-D
So, remember that PITCH, that HOOK, that LOG LINE you used to sell your book to LIT AGENTS...PUBLISHERS...well, put it to good use! Use it to sell to your readers too!
WHO DOES IT
Believe it or not, bookstores do it. The sales people sometimes hand sell books of authors they’ve enjoyed. Readers do it, buy talking up a book they loved. Librarians do it. Vendors do it. Kids do it… heck everyone has hand sold something in their lives. And, authors do it – on the internet when they strike up a conversation about their book.
Well when I started really heavy in this book business. I wanted to try it all and see what worked and didn’t work for myself. One of the things I personally was nervous about was the in-person hand-selling. So my husband – long standing sales person – taught me the skill. I have to admit, he takes hand-selling, street selling, just plain sales to a whole new level.
The experiment was on my first book signing, he would sit at my table for the first hour. His goal – sell all of my books. You know what, he did. He sold 12 books in an hour. We had to go out to the car and get more for the store.
How’d he do it? Eye contact, a smile, a joke, bribery and a huge ‘thank you’ for support. You see our intent was different. Me, I wanted them to just see the cover and want the book. But he – he wanted to SELL the book. Now, he’d get them over to the table, had them read the first page or read it to them, and … the kids were hooked, the book was bought. (There’s that tip about starting out with a bang that really works!)
STREET SALES or SELLING BOOKS IN OFF BEAT PLACES
Okay, back to some author’s greatest fears – street sales, selling out of your car, etc. Well (*raising hand*) I’ve done it. I always have a small box of books in my car. Another tip from my husband. You know what he was right, because when people would ask me about my book, I wouldn’t have one. Now, I always do. That way when opportunity strikes, we are prepared. You know what, I typically sell out of the box a month. I don’t set out to do it, but for some reason when someone ask me about my writing, I let them see my book that I carry in my purse – then usually they will buy a copy of all 3 of my series!
MY MEMORIES OF HAND SOLD BOOKS
I grew up with people hand selling books that I couldn’t find in the store. Street vendors in DC or Baltimore sell everything – including books. Also, authors hand-sell their books at colleges and universities, even churches! Think of some of the odd places you’ve bought books? Think of why you bought them.
DON’T BE AFRAID! LEARN THE ART….
Hand sell on the internet
Hand sell at book signings
Hand sell at odd places
Hand sell at book festivals
Hand sell at craft shows
Hand sell at events that compliment your book (where you happen to be one of few people selling books)
Hand sell with other products
Hand sell to bookstores
Hand sell to libraries
Hand sell to indies
JUST GET YOUR SELL ON!