Wednesday, June 24, 2020

How to Hand Sell Your Book Without Getting a Paper Cut

Okay, so it's a weird title, maybe even an unbelievable title, but hear me out.

The best book sales I get don't come from online purchases, although I do get those. They don't come from FREEbies I offer when I have a new book come out, the second in a series, and I want the reader to read my first, though some sales have come that way. The best book sales don't even come from my family members or friends, though many of them buy.

Most of my book sales come because I've hand-sold them.

Flowers from my yard often get more attention than my books do.

You might think that having published my books since 2002 I would have it all down, that readers are tramping down my flowers in the front yard to get to my latest "best-seller" but frankly, NOPE.


This has depressed me more than once. I have even stopped marketing more than once. And then, a day arrives that speaks to me just a little differently. It says:

Why do you write anyway?

Because you have to.
Because you love it.
Because you love people.
Because you want to connect.

Care for a paper cut?

Hand-selling your book is a little like taking care of a stack of papers on your desk that have been there, you know, FOREVER and going through the entire stack without getting a paper cut. Your book may have been out for forever, you may have written it 20 years ago, and the stupid thing still isn't selling.

I have more than one like that. 

When I started doing "events" for my books (I call them events because rarely do I do book signings in book stores) I was pretty scared. I was sure folks could see the little fear critters in my eyes. 


Yes, I got scared - a lot - made some initial mistakes (you know, like the ones some car salesmen make). I corraled some to my table. Emotionally speaking that is. I may have used guilt - can't remember - though I do recall a few fearful faces as they left my table.

So how do you hand-sell your book without getting a paper cut (i.e., a dirty look, the silent treatment, the invisibility cloak [you are underneath the cloak], or the "don't look at me. I do not want to come over to your table, and no amount of staring at me with your loving eyes will get me to change my mind."


And then I realized something, and this is a BIG something, so listen up. Readers and non-readers alike want connections too. They want to visit for the most part. They want to get to know new people for the most part.

So this is what you do, you give that to them. You connect. You find out about them. You discover what they like to do. You are not offended if they say they don't like to read. You lay off the pressure and instead show forth the kind of stuff you like to get. You know, the authentic stuff with no strings attached.

Is this hard when in your heart-of-hearts you are out there at the "event" to sell your books?

Are you real?

You bet it is. But people can smell a plastic, fake person a mile away. And if they don't, they will see it the first time you open your mouth and try to sell them like a car salesman.

I still remember those times when a sale came because I connected with a reader. And I remember when I connected with a reader and my book still wasn't bought. But you know what?

The connection was made, and this connection, honestly given and returned, has produced more book sales for me than trying to coerce sales in every other way.

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