Selling More Books at Events
With the recent Book Expo of America being held I though it was timely to write and revisit a previous post on how authors should use events to sell their books.
‘Events’ can include everything from book expos, book signings, in-store promotion, library visits to book fairs. The majority of eBook and book marketing today is done online. There is still a place to promote your books ‘offline’ at events so I have included ten ways you can leverage these events to sell more books.
1. Find Where Your Target Audience Hangs Out
I often talk about ‘quality’ over ‘quantity.’ In the case of events you want to find out where your audience hangs out and then go meet them.
If you write books on health and wellness then visit a Health expo and try to find a way to present on a topic you have some expertise in. You will be wasting your time speaking to a group of people who have no interest in your book’s topic or genre.
2. Unless You are Famous, Most Book Signings are a Waste of Your Time
Book signings can be powerful promotional tools for authors to meet and greet their fans. The requirement here is that books signings generally only work for well-known authors who have an existing following.
Rarely will an unknown self-published author derive any benefit from a book signing. Your time would be better spent in speaking to a book club, at a book fair or to a group who are interested in your book’s topic.
3. Networking Starts Well Before the Event Starts
A few months ago I went to an awards night as my company was nominated for a business award. I arrived early and spent the first hour speaking on an informal basis to fellow guests. I exchanged business cards with several well-connected individuals and gained more from that first hour than the rest of the night.
4. Personalize and Customize Your Speech
When you are speaking to a group of potential readers do not over self-promote and do not stray from their topic of interest. People will be more interested in your eBook’s topic, the plot, the storyline, the characters, the writing process, what unique knowledge you have to share with them rather than you and your personal life! Customize your speech to cater to the wants, desires and needs of your audience.
Know who you are speaking to and what they want to hear. This is where showing up early and meeting your audience before you speak will help you gauge the reasons they are attending the event.
5. Place Your Book in Prime Position
Make sure your books are highly visible. If you have a stand or desk, make sure you place multiple copies of your book in prime position. Arrange them in a presentable way so they are facing upwards and outwards, not lying flat on the desk.
If you are speaking to a group you can possibly have a static slide of your book being projected above you on the back wall. If you are talking to a book club you can possibly hand out several copies to be passed around.
6. Be Friendly and Initiate Contact with New People
Standing in the corner talking to someone you already know is not why you are attending these events. You want to be meeting and connecting with new people. Go out of your way to meet new people and show interest in what they are about.
Talking too much about yourself will guarantee that you quickly lose the attention of the person you are speaking to. Your goal is to connect, engage, communicate and build a trusting relationship with your audience.
7. Make Your Book Available to Buy
You want to capture the ‘spontaneous purchases’ at events by having sufficient copies of your book on hand to sell to interested readers right there and then. If you happen to run out of copies this is where you will want to get their details and send them a copy.
My first eBooks were written specifically for tennis coaches. They provided hundreds of tennis drills and lesson plans to coaches wanting to find new drills. I went and presented at a national tennis coaches event and took with me several boxes of my books. After presenting, I was able to sell all books I had with me.
Also, by handing out a flyer with directions on how to find my website I increased sales dramatically over the next few weeks.
8. Book Pairing for Added Value
This is one of the most common techniques for adding value to your book. If your book costs $12 then why not add another book and charge $15 for the two. This creates value by way of two books for $15 instead of just one for $12. Or you could sell one book for $15 and get the second one for free. How you word it is the skill of a true salesman.
9. Have a Way to Collect Details
In sales it is important to collect a person’s contact details so that you can follow-up with them at a later date. You may do it the old fashion way with pen and paper or use your mobile phone or tablet to record a person’s details.
Asking outright for someone’s contact details will often fall on deaf ears. Try and offer something for free such as; a copy of your first eBook, a free subscription to your newsletter or access to your membership site in return for their details.
10. Produce and Giveaway Bookmarks
When reading a book you need a bookmark. Instead of destroying your book by bending back the pages you want to use a bookmark. A bookmark is a book’s best friend. You will be amazed at how many people visiting events love to receive free stuff.
Giving away a bookmark promoting your book or author website is a great way to connect with readers. And if they like your bookmark then it will move with them from one book to another and the promotion of your book keeps on going.
11. Make it Easy to Buy Your Book
If you are selling your book at the event, how will you take payment? With a range of mobile payment systems available you may want to consider one of these options.
You can also use a QR code or provide a link directly to your website where they can purchase your eBook or book instantly. You can also send a ‘buy’ directly to their mobile device.
12. Post Event Follow-up
When the event is over you should just be revving up your book marketing campaign. You should have collected details of potential customers. You should have collected details of people you can partner with for cross-promotion.
You should have collected details of influential people at the event who can help get you further speaking engagements. Maximize the event and pursue opportunities with like-minded individuals.