Most writers find it very hard to put themselves out there and actually try to sell their book to people. When writing it, it was just them and the book, probably in a secluded place, no pressure except maybe to get it done. But once they've got it published, things change. Now they actually have to actively interest people in their book, and that is often a daunting thing.
But want to know a secret? It doesn't have to be. There's a really easy key to getting people (the right people) interested in your writing, and I'm going to tell you it now.
Okay, to start off, let's get something straight. You're not and don't just have to be a salesperson and charm/persuade someone to buy your book like a car salesman or any other type of salesman. Your focus should be on the people, not just the sale. Remember that, because it will really help you not only get more people interested, but be more comfortable while doing so.
So, how do we get people interested? Well, first, don't let your focus be selling them your book. Just try to strike up a friendly conversation like you'd do when trying to make a new friend. Find some common ground, make a connection with the person first.
I'm a huge, huge geek, and I've got these Tardis earrings I wear almost all the time. It's funny too because I could be wearing a Doctor Who shirt, have a sonic screwdriver in my hands and a fez on my head, and yet people always notice the earrings first. So that's one of my biggest and easiest ways of connecting with people, especially because a lot of geeks/nerds are also huge readers.
Also, I don't know what it is, exactly, but finding someone who likes the same book/show/movie as you somehow forms like this instant bond of friendship. It's pretty awesome, and it lets me easily and comfortably steer the conversation towards books. Funny enough, once I find out someone loves books, it's super easy to show them my own and tell them all about it, because I kind of just feel like I'm getting them interested in any other book instead of feeling self-conscious about trying to ask a stranger to buy my book.
Most of the time, they are then interested and at least take a look at it, not just because my book might be intriguing, but because we've already talked and feel more comfortable with each other than if I'd just walked up and tried to sell them my book.
See the difference? When you make a connection with a person first, it makes showing and selling them your book that much easier. :)
And what if you're not a geek? Well, you obviously must like books if you're a writer, otherwise you probably wouldn't have written your own book. ;) And most people like books to one degree or another, so even if you just start off talking about how you love a certain book can get you going. :) Maybe, even, mention a well-known book that's in the same sort of genre/range as your book, then if they say they like it, tell them about your book.
I've done several conventions/book selling events where I've had a booth to sell people my books from, often alongside other vendors and such. Here's a tip: I've found if you actually call out and engage people, often with a question, they'll be more likely to at least come over and check out your booth.
Since I write fantasy, I always call out "Hello!" to people to get their attention, then ask if they like fantasy books. Sure, there are a few awkward times when they kind of stare at me for a moment, shake their head no, and move on, but most times, the people who do like fantasy books then come over and check it out.
It does seem to help that I'm a young author too, because people are often impressed or even don't believe I wrote the novel. I've even had them ask who the author is, and then I've had to explain it's me! (Well, um...why else would I be here, selling a book? ;) One time a guy literally did not believe I could be the author, and I had to open the book to the back and show him my author picture to prove it was me!
But, it's also really wonderful being a young author, because I think it really inspires others, especially other young authors. I've had a lot of people tell me they're really inspired by me, and I love doing anything I can to help other young aspiring authors. After all, if no one had done that for me, I never would have been able to write half as good a book as [I think] I did. :)
Whew! I have more I could share, but this post is getting a bit long, so I think I will stop here for now. Tomorrow I'll come back and give you the rest of the post, including the wonderful world of social media and how Pinterest has gotten me more readers than any other social media outlet!
(Haha, it sounds like I'm doing the 'Next time on...' at the end of a TV episode!
"Next time on Melody Jackson's blog: Learn how to use social media to gain readers, including a special section about finding and engaging your 'target' audience!"
So, until 'next time'(tomorrow), friends!
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(No books were harmed in the making of this blog post)