Thursday, April 18, 2019

Sell Your Book in Unexpected Places (You Might Be Surprised at The Results)

We all know that when you write a book, the actual keyboard clacking is only half the job. Once you finally manage to dot every "i" and cross every "t" you still have to go out and sell the damn thing! For some authors, it's easy. They set up a few signings, go to a few conventions, and boom, their loyal fan following starts turning the wheels to make sure everyone knows their latest work is hot off the presses.

For the rest of us, though, we have to climb up on our soap boxes day after day, and hope to fish enough eager listeners out of the crowd to turn a profit.

Sir, have you read this book? It will change your life!
A lot of authors, though, only limit themselves to the places where the competition is fiercest. Book stores, conventions, and social media. And while you certainly shouldn't stop going to those places to hawk your wares, it is a good idea to ask what other places you might be overlooking where you could find a fresh audience who hasn't bought a single copy of your work just yet.

Farmer's Markets and Garage Sales, Anyone?

The next time you're out and about, really take a look at the events in your local town. Ask yourself what draws big crowds, and once you know, ask how you can get in on those events.

Annual book sales are a great place to start!
Some things are pretty obvious. For example, does your library host a big book sale event every year? Stop in and ask if they'd allow you to set up shop and be the friendly local author meet-and-greet! This is a particularly useful strategy if you've got several books under your belt, but you don't have enough local name recognition to draw your own audience.

This is just the most obvious place you should check. Some others you might want to consider are:

- Farmer's Markets: While most people are there to buy produce, that just means you have even less competition from other authors. And since at least some people there will be bored and curious, that's your chance!

- Garage Sales: You can technically have a garage sale anytime, but lots of places have community-wide garage sales. That's when all the bargain hunters come out in force, so make yourself visible and try to offload some books while you're at it!

- Fairs and Carnivals: The county fair might be a little big (or not, depending on what you're willing to get involved in), but there's probably some sort of local show you could slide right into. I live in Valparaiso, Indiana, for example, and we have Popcorn Fest every year round the town square. Hundreds of locals just wandering around eating popcorn just looking for a book to read!

- School Events: You probably have a college or a high school in your area. Reach out to them and see if they have any events you could get in on. A college might be interested in having you give a talk about the industry, and a high school might have a creative writing club you could speak to. They might be smaller events, but a write-up in the school paper can go a surprisingly long way.

- Open Mic Night: To be clear, we're not talking about karaoke here. If you've got a local cafe or coffee shop that hosts poets, singers, and others, then feel free to take the stage. It might not have the same effect as some of the other suggestions, but it does make you the center of attention long enough to plant a hook in the audience. A talk with the owner or manager might even let you make an event of it, complete with signing table!

All The World's A Stage

I said this back in Sell More Books (By Always Being Ready to Sell More Books), but the sentiment is still the same. Every venue has the possibility to be turned into a place to move your books... you just need to look around, and see what options you have.

You might be surprised at the amount of attention you receive when people find an honest-to-goodness local writer in their midst unexpectedly. Play it up... it helps with the sales.

That's all for this week's Business of Writing! If you enjoyed it, though, you might want to go check out 10 Things You Can Do To Sell More Books. Or, if you'd like to see more of my work, take a look at my Vocal archive, or at My Amazon Author Page where you can find books like my sword and sorcery novel Crier's Knife!

If you'd like to help support my work, then consider Buying Me A Ko-Fi, or heading over to The Literary Mercenary's Patreon page! Lastly, to keep up with my latest, follow me on Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, and now on Pinterest as well!

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