It would be oh so easy to sit here and complain about it being Monday. My wife has the week off and our friend from Arizona is staying for the week. My little girl will be home all week with her momma and the boys only have a day and half of school this week. But am I bitter about having to go to work for three days? Yes. Yes, I am.
I’m not going to focus my attention on all of that though. I’m going to focus in on the fact that on Saturday I spent the day at the Broad Street United Methodist Church’s Christmas Bazaar. I set up my table and waited for the customers to come rolling up. And waited. And waited. Sigh.
Kathryn Reed, my friend and the organizer of the event, did her best to bring people to my table and always introduced me as, “Eric Swett, the famous author,” and some people stayed to talk, but most wandered away without making a purchase. After lunch time I was visited by someone who asked some questions and wandered off, but she came back and bought a copy of Apocalypse Rising. Sweet. A little while later I had a couple come by and ask a bunch of questions about the books and the series. They were going to buy Apocalypse Rising, but I offered up Apocalypse in the Balance at a discount and they jumped on it. Super Sweet. I used the same deal for a friend that came by and he bought both books as well. That was the end of the little selling spree I hit, but I was pleased.
So what did I learn from this, my second public outing as an author?
First, I learned that I need a button to clip to my shirt/jacket that says, “Yes, I am the author.” It was amazing to me how many times the first question out of anyone’s mouth was, “Did you write this?” or some variation on that theme. I would have thought it obvious, but I guess not.
Second, I need to be better prepared before the day of the event. I had some great little signage that I created and some flyers with plenty of information, but I know it looked sloppy in the holders I bought that morning at Walmart (the sheets of paper were too big and I had to fold some edges). I also need a little book stand or something like that so that I can better display the books. Also, an easel and larger bit of signage would have been nice to grab attention. There was one other author at the Bazaar and she had a nice big foam core board picture of her book’s cover and I was completely envious. It seems like a small thing, but theses are investments I need to make for the future.
Third, I’m a pretty good with people. I’m personable enough, but I suck at self promotion and I feel awkward talking about how awesome my books are. When the Bazaar started I felt mousy, hiding behind my tables and my fliers, waiting for people to stop in front of me long enough for me to say something. The further along the day went the more I was willing to reach out to the people walking by and engage them in conversation. I talked about my book, about what it was about, finding the points of interest that might get the book sold, and damn but it felt good. I’m a long way from perfecting my pitch or approach, but the more public events I participating, the better I will get.
I struggle with self promotion and book promotion online for the same reasons I struggle in person. I suck at talking about myself or what I have done. If I can get better at it in person, maybe I can get better online as well. I know my books, especially the newest one, are good, and the only thing holding me back is me. I’m ready to make that next step, even if it is a small one.
- FVP Book Sale – December 6th! (tommiastablet.wordpress.com)
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- PennilessAuthors.com Helps Indie And Self-Published Authors Find Valuable Book Marketing Resources (ireport.cnn.com)