SELLING BOOKS #mondayblogs #writing

I went to the Portland Home & Garden Show to sign books at the Northwest Indie Writers Assn booth on Friday. NIWA does an excellent job of promoting and nurturing authors. And the Book Garden was a beautiful site: three booth sizes in one, covered with faux grass, filled with teak outdoor furniture (for sale), surrounded by actual blooming primroses, and covered in books from every genre by local authors. Four of us sat at tables, signing our own books.

Some people stopped by to buy books, some stopped by to admire (and purchase) the furniture, some were looky-loos, of course. I didn’t sell a single book at the time, but some people took cards, and I had an interesting conversation with a young woman who is working on her memoir. She has Aspberger’s, and is knowledgeable about books, historical eras, quoted Shakespeare, and lines from movies. She maintained eye contact and asked questions, but couldn’t quite hang in there long enough for the answers. I hope she completes her memoir, because it should be a great read.

I wish I were better at networking. I could barely hang in long enough to hear the answers to my own questions of others. I have another book signing coming up in a few months, and it’s at a days-long event where the sole purpose (for me) is networking, as no book sales are allowed.

Apparently, my only hope of selling books is my current method: write them, publish them, mention them in FaceBook posts, on Twitter, and here in this blog.

I’m such an introvert, and seem to become more so with every passing day. If you have a miracle cure for this condition, please let me know! Seriously, if you have ideas for overcoming this malady, please share them here. Thank you!

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6 thoughts on “SELLING BOOKS #mondayblogs #writing

  1. Unfortunately I do not have a miracle cure, but I feel your pain. I was told by my publisher that I need to “put myself out there!” As you can imagine, that is one of the worst things anyone can tell an introverted author, but it is true. I started with creating a my main website and then worked on linking all my other projects to it (WordPress, Etsy, Facebook, Twitter, Pintrest, instagram, etc). I literally searched “social media” and created an account for as many as I could. This way you are reaching all possible markets and even if you don’t keep up on posting to each site as often as you would like, it will still work as a way to connect your markets and “put yourself out there”. In addition to this, I also make sure to include as many applicable tags and categories I can for every blog I write. In the last two weeks, I have almost doubled my followers by doing this. I hope this information is helpful to you.

    • Thank you Sweetchic2012! Your method is what I try to follow. I’m not much for Instagram or Etsy, but am linked to the others, plus Tumblr. I honestly think it is this effort that helps me sell any books at all. I do have book sales, receiving royalties every month, but modest sales. I think I would sell more if only I could “put myself out there!” as you say. I think I’d sell more books if I wrote erotica too, but have no interest in doing so.

  2. Sandra, have you read the book, Quiet? I don’t have the author’s name handy, but she talks about extroverts and introverts in our society. Very interesting and helpful for us introverts.

  3. I think that most authors are introverts–even if they can stand up in front of a crowd to do a presentation or a reading. I also think that many of us were brought up to not be sales people, and particularly to not talk about ourselves. I still remember my mother’s and grandmother’s saying “Don’t brag on yourself.”

    I personally believe that the key to selling books is to NOT sell them. The key to social media is to not sell. It is all about relationship-building. If you think of what you tweet, FB, blog as helping then it is easier to come out of your shell. And, this is exactly what readers really want from you. They want to know you as a real person who cares and wants to help them get what they need.

    The mystery for an author is to decide what is it their readers really want? And how can you give it to them. This goes book to really knowing your audience. When someone reads your book what do they tell you was most memorable for them? Whatever that is. That is what they want. I have found that most books fall into one of two categories–and some fall into both: 1) relationship management; or 2) page turning excitement.

    For many books, what the reader values most in the story has to do with relationships. How did the hero or heroine resolve a conflict? How did the hero or heroine overcome an obstacle to be successful? How did the hero or heroine finally find a home? If this is your readership, then the majority of your encounters should revolve around this. Write posts, have discussions, provide links to content that speaks to relationship building, conflict resolutions, overcoming personal obstacles. This opens up your readership to new people who will come to your books through those discussions of things they really want.

    For the page turning excitement readers (e.g., thrillers, suspense, sometimes mystery) then your content is different. You might be sharing links to true events–how did Maggie finally find her long lost sister? How did Jim survive three days in the wilderness? If you have the background yourself, you share survival tips, you brrief hair-raising adventures, you discuss other examples of this in movies, TV, other author’s books. Again, you are HELPING, you are delivering something that is not selling a book, and so you draw in people who don’t know you otherwise.

    Of course, in both these instances you include your related titles at the end of the blog post or every 10th or 20th post you mention how this relates to your book in a tweet or FB posting. But then it is interesting to your new reader because that person came to you for help or for someone who understands what the want/need first.

    Introverts tend to be good helpers, good listeners. Use that to your advantage and it won’t hurt so much to “put yourself out there.”

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