"We're writers," my friend said with a pleasant smile.
"Oh," our guest said, returning the smile in kind. "Are you working on a book?"
"Indeed we are," I said.
Right here is what professional authors whose books aren't flying off the shelves refer to as the sweet spot (or some variation thereof). What I had was a total stranger who had approached me of her own volition, and who was interested in my craft. The appropriate response for such a chance encounter would be to perhaps ask if she liked to read science fiction or fantasy (I had a story of each genre available for sale at the time), and if she was a fan of either/both genres to hand her a business card and tell her to take a look at my work. Perhaps I could even go so far as to offer her a free digital copy for finding the author "in the wild" instead of at an event.
That isn't what happened, though. Instead we all sat in a slightly awkward silence before she walked off, and my friend and I went back to our food and our conversation.
|Five minutes later, I did this.|
If you want to sell more books, don't do that.
I'm not saying that you should carry a briefcase with a full press kit in it everywhere you go, but it's a good idea to keep your professional face in your back pocket along with a few business cards and maybe a promotional bookmark or two. When you're at a bookstore or a convention you're fighting for attention, and it's kind of like you're one of a hundred other people in an orange vest during deer season. You're competing with all these other head hunters, and the readers know you're gunning for them. But if someone just walks up to you at a party, in the park, or in a restaurant it's like you're sitting on your back porch, rifle over your knees, and a deer just walks right out of the woods and stood there in your sights.
|So what's your book about?|
Meeting an author in a place you don't expect to meet one, though, makes the experience special. It's like how seeing a tiger at the zoo is no big deal, but seeing one while you're at the coffee shop is something you're going to talk about for weeks. As a tiger who writes books, this can be a huge advantage for you. Not only will you have no competition for a reader who is enthralled that a creature like you can be found in such a normal place, but that reader is more likely to tell other people about you. Whether she has a few friends in a reading group, or a thousand followers on Facebook is impossible for you to know. If you send her away with your business card, a smile, and the promise of a free book, however, you're a lot closer to finding a fan (and even better a fan that will talk about you) than you were five minutes ago.
|While we're on the subject of selling books...|
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