Friday, September 14, 2018

Talking to People About Your Books

I had an interesting book discussion yesterday at my local smoke shop.  I've been going there for about five years and the main core of employees know me.  I stop in two or three times a month to buy cigarettes, and I'm a Chatty Cathy once I get comfortable around people, so of course, they do.

Which means they know I write books.  And some of them even have copies of my books.  Yesterday was the first time I'd been in there since SU went live, so I started telling one of them about that, and then the new guy joined in and we got to talking. 

Most of the discussion was about hardcopy books vs ebooks.  But that's not what I wanted to talk about today.  Nope, I want to talk about talking about your books.

Seriously, think about it.  Do the people in your everyday life know you write books?  I'm not talking about family and friends.  I'm talking about the people you run across consistently in your travels, your errands, etc.  The cashiers at the stores you go to once a week.  The nurses at your doctor's office.  The people at your bank.  The postal person you buy stamps from.

These are all excellent opportunities to chat up your books.  And most of the time, they'll be excited for you.  Which is always nice.  Sometimes, you might even hand sell a book to someone who's really interested.  Sometimes, you might give away a book and then get good feedback.  The hope is that they'll talk about your book to their friends and family, and you'll get some word-of-mouth sales. 

I keep copies of my books in the trunk of my car.  But if you're not in a position to trot out copies, keep marketing materials handy.  I usually have bookmarks and postcards in my purse.  I hand those out whenever anyone shows an interest in reading.  (Which reminds me... I need to update my marketing materials.  ugh.)

I've sold books to the gals at the bank, the office manager at my vet, and the postal gal.  I've given books out at the feed store, the smoke shop, and the building supply store. I've chatted about my books with the cashiers at Wallyworld and the local thrift shops.  I've even talked about my books with other customers who were looking at books at the time. 

And I'm not exactly a social butterfly.

Now, you can't just walk up to perfect strangers and shove a bookmark in their face.  We start out talking and then the conversation turns to books for some reason or other.  Then after a time, I segue into 'I write books'.  And 'here's a bookmark for you'. 

I don't know if most of this turns into sales, but hey, one can hope.  And it provides the side benefit of talking about books.  Who among us doesn't like to talk about books, eh?

All it takes is a little conversation.  And one that's NOT about the hard sell.  You try the hard sell, and they'll just look at you like you're one of those loons.  Just talk.  And if your books happen to come up in the course of conversation, offer them a way to look you up online.  Which may lead to them buying one of your books. 

It's worth a shot, eh?


  1. I had a couple of baristas at Starbucks suddenly realize that when I said I was a writer, that I wrote novels. They thought I was a professor or reporter or something. LOL One of them grabbed all my books. But yeah, people I interact with--the cleaners, Starbucks, Jersey Mike's--on a regular basis all know and I've given them free books or downloads. I carry stuff in my purse too. And LG tells people what I write but he doesn't carry stuff of mine. He does give them his business card with my website handwritten on the back.

    Speaking of hard sell, I had a guy like one of my reviews (Leverage in Death by JD Robb, NYT best-selling author) on Goodreads and he commented on it by saying, "Since you liked this book, you'll like mine. Give it a try! [buy link]." Seriously? Dude. Don't go there.

    1. OMG, I had the same thing happen on my review of Rebecca. Almost the exact some verbiage, if I recall. LOL, it was probably the same guy. NOT a way to get sales from me, lemme tell ya.