Marvelous musings and the mind-boggling journey of marketing a book
I am not a salesperson.
I'm a shy, introverted writer. When my book was published, I had to become an aggressive, in your face, pushy bookseller.
And, I hated it. But I did it.
My goal was to get my books into several local gift shops. I dressed in nice clothes, applied lipstick and mascara, and put on my boots.
Real bossome shoes.
Wearing boots gave me a good two more inches in height (I'm only 5' 3") which offered me the opportunity to look people square in the eye rather than having them look down at me.
Most of the time, shop owners listened to my spiel as they flipped through the pages of Maggie. Some bought a few copies, others turned it down claiming they could not make enough money on the book.
On one occasion when I was trying to sell my book, the owner chatted with a customer. She did not acknowledge or welcome me.
I walked from room to room to pass the time.
I looked through the clothing, the shoes, and the games, toys and books.
I checked on the manager again. Still talking.
I felt awkward, ready to saddle up and get me and my 2" boots out of Dodge*.
But on my way to the door, the owner thanked her customer and then greeted me.
Whoa. All of the sudden it was show time.
I approached the counter, looked her in the eye and gave a brief summary of the book, described how it was inspired by a local rescue dog, and explained why it would be a good fit for her customers...all along thinking she's not (literally) buying this.
But...she wanted several copies!
I don't always make a sale, but sometimes I'm successful. I placed some of my books in local shops by:
- Calling shops and telling them about my book
- Making an appointment with the manager
- Explaining why the book would be good for customers
- Showing up for the meeting with extra copies of my book
- Bringing copies of reviews and a sell sheet
- Insisting on selling the books, not consigning them
- Bringing Maggie bookmarks
- Striving to be patient and courteous
- Trying to be positive and upbeat
- Taking interest in the manager's business vision
I don't want to do this book selling thing.
I REALLY DON'T WANT TO DO THIS BOOK SELLING THING.
Then I put on my boots.
I'm working bossome from my head down to my toes.
*The phrase 'get the hell out of Dodge' originated from the television show Gunsmoke, which took place in Dodge City, Kansas.