Yesterday the little town in which I live had its first book faire. Well, it wasn’t strictly a book faire because the OjaiBookFest allowed renters of table space to sell goods such as decorated gords, crafts, pamphlets, and what-nots as well. However, as one of the booksellers (of Becoming Alice, A Memoir,) I thoroughly enjoyed myself. The first good thing that happened was that it didn’t rain despite the fact that it had been in the forcast for a week. Actully that is only partially true since the rain started at about two o’clock sending us booksellers into a frenzy to save our books from becoming soggy piles of wet paper ready for the recycler.That left me about three to three and a half hours to mind my table at the faire. In that period of time I sold a lot of books, but even better, I had a great time.
There is a method for being a bookseller at a faire. First of all the seller must be on his/her feet. So often when I looked around at the others, I found them sitting down, chatting with one another, having coffee and a snack and completely ignoring anyone that might be passing the table. The trick is to make eye contact with the passerby … not the person who’s selling something next to you. Once the passerby has stopped, smile at him/her. That’s the first invitation to maybe say something, like “Do you want to know what this book is about?” They may smile back, shake their head, and move on. That’s okay. Or, they may approach your table. That’s when you pick up your book and say, “You can find out what this book is about if you read this short synopsis on the back cover.”
If you’re lucky they’ll say, “Wow.” Then you can add whatever else you want. In my case I say, “It is a true story.” Now your passeby is engaged and will either ask more questions or make a remark like, “Oh, I’m from Portland.” Or, they might say, “I was in the war … I was with the occupation forces … we did this and that and this and that.” That’s the kind of engagement that ends up in a sale.
The best kind of engagement comes about when the passersby stop three feet from your table. They hesitate and look at the table and your invitation to read the synopsis doesn’t move them an inch closer to you. That’s when you smile and jokingly say, “You’re welcome to come and look at this book without buying it. It’s free to look … you can put it back down and walk away and I won’t mind at all.”
Of course, you already know that these passersby, who probably were afraid of a sales pitch, bought my book.
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Posted in blogging, Readers, Sales, tagged readers on January 1, 2011 |
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I haven’t posted but one or two blogs this past month for one of two reasons. One is that I’ve untaken a move from one house to another of monumental propotions. This is not meaningful to anyone but me.
The other is that it seems that this blog isn’t going anywhere. I often feel that I’m talking to myself. If that is the case, then I might as well be writing a journal and should get off the internet altogether. What little connection I have established online has been with fellow writers who have many of my same aspirations and are experiencing many the same frustrations I have had.
Many of those who do find me online are so often interested in teaching me “how to” do things. These experts very often are others who have had no more background in writing, editing, publishing, marketing, etc. than me.
Therefore I have decided to take a new direction in 2011. Much as I like, admire, and often envy other writers, I plan to change the relationship I have had with them in the past. I am going to branch off and try to engage the readers of our material. I am going to try to understand what they like or dislike in our work. What are they reading? Why? What do they look for when they spend time reading? Were are they coming from? Do they prefer to read a book that is a paperback, or do they prefer the Kindle, or like product?
There is so much to know. I may even start a new blog, going down an entirely different route.
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Posted in Becoming Alice, blogging, Books, Internet, Sales, Writing, tagged Becoming Alice, blogging, Internet, statistics, Writing on November 23, 2010 |
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My mother came from the Old World; by that I mean Europe, many decades ago. If you’ve read Becoming Alice you know her pretty well. One of the things I didn’t write about was her propensity for interjecting into our conversations sayings for the ordinary things that happen in life. One of her favorite was, “every pot has its own lid.” That one was used to make old maids feel better about being unmarried. It meant that there was a man out there somewhere for her that would fit her needs, just like there was a lid for every pot.
Lately, I’ve thought about another one of her favorites: “a watched pot doesn’t boil.” It has absolutely applied to my latest experiences on the internet. I have a habit of watching, and I mean almost daily, my statistics on various sites to which I am connected. I am curious to see if anyone, and how many people, might have read a blog after I’ve posted it. Often I get a few hits and then the numbers don’t go up any more. But I keep looking.
Another statistic I watch is Amazon’s Book Ranking for Becoming Alice. There, the numbers change all the time, but mostly in the wrong direction.
This last month, my normal routine has been completely disrupted. I have had to move out of my home of many, many years. I’ve had an estate (it’s a joke, it’s just used furniture) sale and arranged for a donation to charity for what’s left over. I am now having to face cleaning the whole place up. Therefore, there has been no time to check my stats anywhere.
It turned out to be a great thing, because my stats jumped considerably in positive directions on all sites, especially my Amazon site. Since I can’t figure out Amazon’s ranking system in the first place, in future I am not even going to look at it for days or weeks on end. After all, “a watched pot doesn’t boil.”
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