Monday, August 2, 2010

To Market, To Market . . .

by Rachael Renee Anderson

I have to say that the marketing side of being an author really stinks, at least for me. Sure, I'd love people to buy my books, and sure, I always hope they like them, even love them, but the last thing I want to do is encourage people to buy them.

This has been on my mind a lot lately because my 2nd book, Luck of the Draw, is being released next week. Tomorrow and Wednesday, I'm scheduled to attend a buyers convention where I'm supposed to "pitch" the book to I don't know how many buyers (I've never been before), and my job is to to get them excited enough to want to purchase the book for their stores or websites.

First of all, I'm not great with public speaking, and secondly, how do you go about making your book sound wonderful without sounding like a cocky author at the same time? I despise the thought of coming across as a pushy salesperson, because I don't like pushy salespeople.

And then there will be signings, which are not nearly as intimidating, but still difficult for me. To have the sales clerks say, "Hey, have you met our author who is signing today?" to every customer who walks in the store (including the elderly gentlemen and did I mention I write romantic comedies?) makes me want to sink down in my chair and pull open a large newspaper. Sometimes I've left a signing feeling like I've made several people decide to stick to online purchasing from that point on. And who wants to make someone feel like that? Not me.

So my question to authors and customers alike is this: If you walked into a store and saw an author there signing, how would you prefer them to act? Do nothing, unless you approach them? Smile, say hi, maybe give you a bookmark to introduce you to the book, and then let you come back if you're really interested? Engage you right away to tell you about their book? Or maybe you have a better idea. If so, I'm all ears.

I think that if I were the customer, I'd prefer option 1 or 2, but I'm curious about what everyone else thinks, so please, pipe up!


Steve said...

Rachael, I feel your pain. My book,Defensive Tactics, is also being released next week and I have definitely had to step out of my comfort zone. I typically don't enjoy talking about myself,I'd rather hear what others have to say.

As I'm getting ready to do a couple of signings, I'll be interested to hear advice from others as well.

Don said...

My honest preference would be to know from a distance if this were a book I'd be interested in. I hate high-pressure sales as well, yet you want to be approachable and friendly.

Having something to give out is a good way to engage without being pushy.

Rebecca Irvine said...

I dislike the marketing aspect of it too! Luckily (?) living in AZ limits the number of signings one has to do. BTW, just finished reading Divinely Designed and loved it; I will be reviewing it on my blog in a few weeks.

Michael Knudsen said...

I think it's kind of like missionary work -- you have your "golden" prospects who the book is perfect for, and you have those who are like, "meh." You won't always recognize who is who, so you have to approach most everyone, but in a low-pressure kind of way. If they get that "deer in the headlights" look, time to back off.

Rachael Renee Anderson said...

Thanks for the great comments and advice everyone. It's always nice to know that others feel the same way. Steve, your book sounds great and awesome cover! Don, I completely agree. Rebecca, thank you! How thoughtful and what a great pick-me-up you've given me! Michael, although I've yet to serve a mission, I can only imagine what it must be like. I appreciate the advice though. Hopefully it will all get easier with time, right? :)