Friday Speak Out!: No Appearance is an Island

Friday, October 26, 2018
by Blaise Ramsay

Has this ever happened to you? You're sitting at a table on a Saturday morning in the middle of Barnes & Noble, yet it doesn't appear like anyone is interested?

As authors we can get discouraged when sitting at a signing and it appears no one is coming up to see us or avoids eye contact the moment we look in their direction.

Why? Is it something we said?

Quite the opposite! It's what you aren't saying!

Now, you're probably thinking "I'm afraid to come off as too sales-y" or "I'm shy with approaching people." The truth is, readers are thermometers for enthusiasm and confidence. They can either catch or not see them a mile away.

A hard truth, not all events end in massive book sales. Some may not at all and that can be upsetting.

But! There's hope! It's not the end of the world. Promise!

The trick is finding ways to benefit from your signing other than for just selling books. Often, readers head into book stores knowing what they're looking for. They might not even know they want your book!

Here are five things you can do to make the most out of these signings without selling a single book but still benefiting from them:

Start up a conversation - People love to engage with engaging people who are interested in what they're interested in. Don't bash them with "Buy my book" right out of the starting gate. Greet them and ask how they're doing first. They may want to talk or in some cases need to.

• Don't sit behind your table - That's one thing that's an immediate deterrent for many. Authors who're sitting with their heads down or looking at their phones can indicate they don't really care to be there. Get on your feet and shake some hands. You're missing your readers!

• Take a guestbook - Many readers like to sign up for lists who offer something in return. This can be an eBook, template, contest, etc. It's a great networking tool and can help build lasting relationships. Don't forget your book swag! Readers love those too!

• Be Approachable - There's professional and there's approachable. It all depends on your target audience. If an author has a deep scowl on their face, odds are readers aren't going to stop and chat. Keep that smile, they might just need one that day.

• Be Willing to Listen - So many times, our readers want to talk about how they wanted to write but are too scared to or want to share an experience. They may need encouragement to pursue their ideas or ask some questions. This builds trust and shows them you care.

Not selling can be disheartening but it doesn't have to be the only benefit from live events. Invest time and energy in your readers, build your brand and in time, they will invest their time in you!

* * *
Fyresyde owner and creative entrepreneur Blaise Ramsay is the indie published author of the paranormal romance Blessing of Luna. When she's not writing for herself, she's a full-time ghostwriter and freelancer, blogger, mom, and wife.
Would you like to participate in Friday "Speak Out!"? Email your short posts (under 500 words) about women and writing to: marcia[at]wow-womenonwriting[dot]com for consideration. We look forward to hearing from you!


Sioux Roslawski said...

Blaise--I love the sign-up sheet. What a great idea. And yes. I was just at an author event and most writers (along with myself) sat behind a table, so I am going to take your advice the next time I do one.

Thanks for the post, and good luck with your future writing...

Angela Mackintosh said...

Blaise ~ These are great tips! I like the one about not sitting behind a table because it's so true! I've helped author friends at signings, and it's best if you treat it like you're at a trade show (which I'm too familiar with!) walking around and talking to people. I've also been a "hype man" for friends at bookstores where I talk up her book and get people to come over to her table. It works well. She doesn't have to talk up her book and can instead focus on a conversation, while I pump up her book. The email signup list is essential too. :) Congratulations on your paranormal romance!

Tyto Forest said...

I'm very glad you found these hints helpful. Thank you for the good luck wishes! I'd love to connect on social media. Anytime you need any promo, just let me know. I love to help other authors.

Tyto Forest said...

Thank you very much! I'm always happy to hear authors who network with each other. If you, your friend, or you know an author who needs some promo, don't hesitate to hit me up!

Margo Dill said...

Agree with Sioux and Ang. I would also add that author events are not for sissies and really I try to have realistic goals and expectations and when I exceed those, I feel better. Also you learn from doing them. The first few are the hardest! Thanks for the post

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