You can tweet ’till your fingers bleed but if you’re an author, at the end of the day, you want to sell books. What works? What doesn’t? What is a total waste of time and what brings results? In this series of posts, I will be highlighting tips from other authors and myself about what we have found actually sells books quickly, what takes time to build and what is a total waste of time.
Tip 1 – Book Signings
Social media is great but nothing works better than a face-to-face meeting with a live person when selling books and what better way than in a book store? Yes, there are reports that Barnes & Noble may close or be dramatically reduced and many indie stores are closing, but there are also many that are opening.
Most social media techniques take repeated efforts, awareness and exposure to sell books and there’s nothing wrong with that but doing book signings the right way is a way that will help sell books the first time you meet someone, even a perfect stranger, quickly.
Before you say, “I’ve tried that before and I didn’t sell any books”, please, understand when I say that book signings sell books, I’m not talking about authors that just want to sit behind a table and wait for people to come up to them.
There are details of how to set up a signing that you can find elsewhere, but I wanted to give you a few highlights of how to sell books with book signings, the right way.
1. Indie store or chain store both welcome local authors. Just talk to the manager or their events coordinator and ask them with a big smile when you can do a signing. Tell them that you’ll be promoting the event yourself.
2. On the day of the event, set up your books on your table, yes, but take about 4-5 books with you at a time, and walk around the store and introduce yourself to customers with a big pleasant smile. Tell them you’re an author who’s doing a signing, what your book is about and here are the magic words, “this book would make a great gift.” Then don’t say a word. Silence is golden and so is a great sincere smile. Stay there with them until they agree to buy the book. I mean, don’t stalk them or be annoying, just be “available”. Sure, some may politely shoo you away but if you engage in a conversation, even recommend other authors’ books, take an interest in them and why they’re in the bookstore that day, 9 times out of 10, they’ll buy from you.
3. Here’s the thing, you must stay in the store from morning until the end of the day if you have to, until you’ve approached about every customer that is browsing through the store and told them about your book, because you will sell every single copy. It’s very reasonable to believe that if you bring about 20 books with you, you’ll sell every single one of them.
I’ve done the above many times and even sold books in chain stores in airports doing the same thing. It works. It will sell books if you have the basics, which is what we’ll talk about in the next tip.