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.