Monday, December 03, 2007

The 5 Things I Learned

OK, here they are, the 5 things I learned from going to the Book Fair on Saturday (there were probably more, but these 5 stand out):

1. Smile. Really, at everyone, especially if you're new to the business and you don't know who's who. The person wearing jeans and hauling around boxes to get everything set up could very possibly be the best-selling author sitting at your table. And people are more likely to stop and at least look at your things, maybe pick up a business card or bookmark, if you smile at them, make eye contact, and say hello.

2. Looks are important - when it comes to your promo items and your table, anyway. Don't overdo and bring 15 different kinds of items. It clutters the space. Do arrange your books nicely (one of the authors had a black velvet throw that she put under her books, which were all set at different levels on the table. Looked cool.) Do bring something unusual if you can, that relates to your books. The author next to me had a scented candle made by some woman who has a side business, and this author does a lot of promo packages - buy a book AND a candle. She said she sells more of both than you might guess. And more people stopped to smell the candle than stopped to pick up a book, at first glance.

3. Be prepared to listen to people talk about the books THEY'VE written. I heard more people talk about the next best-seller they had lying at home, than I can count on both hands. At least three people said, "Oh, it's fresh and original. There's nothing else like it out there." Then they went on to talk about it...and it wasn't, not really. But that's OK. People who like to talk about writing are usually readers, so you have a chance of convincing them to buy your book. A chance, anyway.

4. Even if you don't sell a single book, the networking at these public events is priceless. In six hours, I made more connections with other authors, publishers, and book distributors than I have in probably the last 6 months. I have promo opportunities for 2008 that I didn't have when I arrived there. And getting your own name out there is just as valuable. Now they know me, and hopefully they'll remember me when they see my name in other places. On the flip side, it was amazing to hear how many authors do little to no promotion once their books hit the shelves.

5. Chocolate is always a hit. I had a tin of Hershey's kisses in front of my display, and almost every person who walked by took one. And a majority stayed as they unwrapped it, to look at what else was on the table. Chocolate. Every time.

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Finally, I'm running a contest for the month of December: every time you leave a comment on my blog this month, I'll put your name into a drawing for Scenes from a Holiday. I bought this book to read and review for The Long and the Short of It, so it's a brand new copy. Hope to have the review done soon, too, so you can read it before the winner is announced...right after the first of the year!

15 comments:

Marianne Arkins said...

Sounds like you had a great time! And, yes, chocolate. Good idea.

Re: contest. I'll put it up at the site on our page... but would you email it to me so I remember? LOL...

Snowing there?

Sarita Leone said...

Thanks so much for sharing your tips with us. Especially love number five, but I've jotted the others in my "remember this stuff" notebook, the one I keep in my desk drawer. I know I'll refer back often to these tips. So glad you had a good time. It sounds (and looks!) like it was great!

Shelli Stevens said...

Those are great tips! It's so important to be smiling. It makes you more approachable. And chocolate works :)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing! Sounds like ti was very productive. Liz

Dru said...

You guys had one of the nicer set-up at the book fair.

Your #1 made the difference if I stopped at a booth and Your #3 is how I bought one of the books.

Good tips.

robynl said...

Glad your Book Fair experience was good.
Love the cover of the book you have for the contest.

Merisi said...

I admire your time management skills: A day job, book writing, Book Fairs, and blogging. I am sure there's more. :-)

windycindy said...

I love your comments about what your learned! I am not a writer, but seems like some of your comments are great for life in general. Thanks,Cindi
jchoppes[at]hotmail[dot]com

angelaandconnor at gmail.com said...

Sign me up for your book!

Im bloggin ya
http://contestaddict.blogspot.com

Laura @ Laura Williams' Musings said...

Count me in please.

Blogged ya:

http://laurawilliamsmusings.blogspot.com/2007/12/saturday-edition-of-contests-galore_08.html

tAnYeTTa said...

please! count me in.

Amanda said...

Lovely book!

Jcollaird at aol dot com said...

would really love the chance to win any of your great books.

Margay1122 said...

These are some great tips for all aspiring authors.
The book looks like a fun read, as does One Night in Boston. But then, I could be a little biased thee, being a Massachusetts woman myself.

Laura K said...

Just stumbled across your post/contest. Please add me into your raffle.