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So, You Hate Selling

If  you’d wanted to be a salesperson you’d be selling Avon, right? Yeah,  selling books is about the same thing. If you don’t have the name  recognition of J.K. Rowling or the facial recognition of Stephen King,  how can it be done?

Whether  you’ve been published by one of the small companies or have been  contracted the big guys, promotion is ultimately going to be on your  shoulders. First decide what you want from the sales meeting. Obviously  the goals are to get your book in their hands or shelves, and then  moving quickly off them. But what are you willing to offer to achieve  this? A book signing? A talk? A class? Will you work for free just to  get your name out there? Be open minded and ready to bend. How badly do  you want this? 

Pick  your victim (make sure it relates to something in your book): school,  women’s club, medical convention. We should talk, at another time, about  writing these things into the plot of your book. Suck in a breath,  stiffen your spine, and paste on a smile. No need to call ahead. Don’t  weigh yourself down. Be armed with only a good attitude, a press kit and  your book you.

Go Right For The Manager/Boss

No  need to waste time explaining your mission to the clerk at the front  desk. Be assured managers are going to be apprehensive, wary, and  negative. You’ll feel the vibes all the way across the room and want to  run for the door. They’re approached by pushy salespersons every day and  can’t help projecting that attitude. It’s how we feel when  telemarketers call during dinnertime. 

But  you’re not pushy, you’re friendly and outgoing, you put them at ease.  Open the conversation with something about them. Is he wearing a  baseball cap? Talk about the team who belongs to the logo. Is she  wearing a great looking sweater? Ask where she bought it. Compliments  can go a long way, but don’t go so far that you’re patronizing. If it’s a  nice day, don’t talk about the weather, it’ll just remind them they’re  working while you’re playing. Sure, you know it’s work, but...

Hand Them Your Book

Announce  boldly, “Fresh off the press. I’m here to introduce myself and my book  to you.” Hand it to them and wait quietly while they thumb through it.  They’ll do this even if they’re in a bad mood. Their moms taught them to  be polite when they were little tykes. Hopefully they’ll get enough  information off the book cover to begin asking questions. Here’s where  you let them see your self-assurance and dedication to your career. Talk  about your story, your great reviews, or any endorsements. And then  quickly move on to what's in it for them.

What You Can Do For Them?

Never tell them what they can do for you. People love when yougive themthings.  Find out their needs. Writers group? Book discussion group? Kids’  mentor? Decide on the spot if it’s something you can handle. Don’t hem  and haw or tell them you’ll get back to them. Your professionalism will  go a long way toward your success. Leave them a business card or better  yet a postcard with the cover of your book on it. Good luck. tips