So you have a book to sell. You have picked out a market or a book fair to sell your books. There are thousands of people milling around and passing you by. You are getting discouraged and wondering why no one will stop and look at your book!
TIP #2: PLEASE! PLEASE! STOP AND LOOK AT MY BOOK!
How To Get People To Stop
There are many ways to get people to stop and there are many more ways to drive people away.
Here is a tip don’t: Don’t stand outside of your booth and peddle your wears. That just annoys people and they walk faster. Their first thought is that you are another snake oil salesman and they tune you out.
So what should you do?
Greet people and look busy (later tip). People want someone who is genuinely happy to see them and be there. If you look bored or tired, people will move on. Greeting them as they come up or pass by will cause people to make eye contact and take notice of their (and your) surroundings.
Signage is good. Put up banners telling why you are there, what you are selling, and what they can get. Some authors put up their banners touting their name and books. We have a banner that says Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. Both of those are good, but they are not going to get most people to stop.
Here are two things that will help you draw people in:
#1 Put up a sign that reveals an author is signing books. People want a chance to brush with fame. You may not be “famous” but if you published a book, that is noteworthy. People can buy books anywhere, but how often can you get a book signed and personalized. People will stop and buy just for that.
I have seen people put down books when they found out that they were not signed and the author wasn’t there. I have also seen people come in just to buy that book without ever opening it or having ever seen it before simply because the author was there.
When an author is there, their sales are significantly higher. One PALS member come one day last summer and sold more books on that day than the that entire summer or this one!
#2 Eye Candy. No, not a model or cute little animals, though the animals thing does work, but something that catches people’s eye and makes them come closer to look. One of our PALS is a quilter and made a small quilt with moose on it. We hung it on one side of the pop up tent and people would walk up just to admire it (and often try to buy it). Find something like that to attract people, to cause them to slow down, peak their curiosity, or to admire.
Sometimes that eye candy (or supporting candy) are the books themselves. If you have multiple books and one has a cute or intriguing title or might be geared towards the marketgoers, putting them up front and on display will help draw people in.
You need people willing to stop or slow down, even for a moment. Once you have them there, make sure you are genuine and polite. Say hi to them. Compliment them on something they are wearing (keep it general and not creepy please!). Ask them a question. (try to stay away from philosophy, politics and religion; stick with “How are you doing today?” or “Welcome! Where are you from?”)
Interacting with people could be a tip all in itself, but it varies depending on your comfort level, the venue and who you are trying to sell to.
So now you have them in your booth, what do you do?
Next week I will share my Tip #3: The Sell.