Build your reputation while building your book.
March 23, 2013
We don’t need to hash over the fact that publishing and marketing in this cyber world of ours has changed dramatically. I think we all know it by now. Instead, I want to talk about the little things that still matter in this high energy, instant gratification, hurry up planet we live in.
Some authors do book signings, some don’t, and that is a personal preference. I like doing them myself, because I love being in the trenches with the people who enjoy my work. Meeting new potential readers is always a treat, as well. But, even if you don’t do actual book signings there are a few things you need to remember that will help you in this competitive environment of authorship.
You are an author. Self-published, traditionally published, eBooks, whatever. You’ve written a book, it’s out there, and whether you like it or not, so are you. Here are a few tips that work for me.
Call people by their names. It makes a connection they will remember. I recently attended a party where a lady came marching toward me, hand outstretched. I racked my brain trying to figure out if I knew her or not. Her broad smile gave me the impression that she did.
Before she actually spoke, I clasped her hand, and said, “Patty Wiseman. How are you?”
She responded, “Yes, so good to see you, Patty. You remember me? I’m Susie Hanson.”
I say, “Of course, Susie, I remember you, I wasn’t sure you remembered my name.”
The conversation took off, and I sidestepped what could have been an embarrassing moment. Go on the offensive. Always lead with your name. I meet so many people at all the book signings I go to, I can’t possibly remember everyone. It’s been a great tool.
Remember, now that you are an author, wherever you go you must represent. Not only do you represent yourself or your book, but you represent authors everywhere. We are a family of sorts. It’s our duty to give this industry a good name.
Be polite wherever you are, in a restaurant, when you are driving, in the grocery store. Be neat and tidy. Comb your hair, clean your nails. You never know when you will sell a book. I always carry them in my car, but even with eBooks, you need to be professional. I had a lady download my book right in front of me at the dentist’s office. Thankfully, I dress a bit nicer when I go to the dentist.
Remember, the person you cut off on the highway, or the waiter you were rude to might just show up at your next book signing.
Don’t always focus on yourself or your books. Build your reputation as a kind and caring person first. The rest will come. Answer emails, phone calls, and for customers who pass your books around to their friends, send a thank you card. Maybe it’s not a sale, but that’s how your name becomes remembered. When those friends see you have a new book out they are more likely to buy it. I just came from the pharmacy to refill a prescription and the technician told me she passed my books to her friends, one of whom is a prominent judge in town, and they all loved them!! It’s a ripple effect.
Be professional. Hugs are okay, but don’t overdo. Some people don’t like the invasion of their personal space. Always be friendly, but don’t cross the line.
Manners in the work place go a long way in boosting sales. The world is our work place, now. Whether you at the gym, the market, a doctor’s appointment, or a child’s school activity, you are in the spotlight. You are an author.