Authors, including yours truly, will pitch their books to just about anyone who will listen, which includes readers, agents, editors, publishers, reviewers, movie producers, investors, and even the clerk at the grocery store. Give us an opening and we will surely grab it! Showing your talent is certainly the best way to win over others, but first you have to get them to listen to you and look at your books.
There are a lot of books and articles out there which offer advice on pitching to the major players in this crazy business, but what I want to talk to you today is pitching your work to the average person on the street – the prospective buyer of your book. Your hairdresser, the clerk at the grocery store or the counter person at your local Taco Bell could very well become your biggest fan.
Your Author Pitch can be the difference between an average career and a profitable career. Here are some tips I found helpful when coming face to face with a prospective buyer or fan:
Don’t try to overwhelm that person you just met by introducing yourself as the next Nora Roberts or Stephen King. Wait for the right opening then casually mention you are an author when the timing is right. That is the key, unlike pitching to an agent or editor; you have a lot more time to engage in conversation with the person you just met. Casually mentioning you are an author usually opens the door and they will take the lead by asking you questions like, “Oh, you’re an author, what do you write?” Allow your new friend to set the pace of the conversation. You will soon learn if they are a reader by their reaction and comments. Even if they are not a reader, chances are they know someone who is and you still might have a sell if you work it right.
Just last night, I engaged in such a conversation with a new employee at our local Taco Bell. The young gentleman in his early twenties has served us twice now. Shortly after we ate, he went outside to smoke. My DH and I were also outside. I asked him where another Taco Bell employee was since I hadn’t seen her, the last two times we had been in. He asked if we were friend of hers.
“In around about way… I wanted to let her know I pre-ordered my next book for her as she requested.”
The puzzled look on his face said I had his interest. My DH took over and said something to the effect, “My wife is an author and Gloria reads her books.”
That was all it took, he began his questions with, “what did I write?”
Now, I write steamy adult paranormals and although I do have a few male followers, my audience tends to be female. Mentioning the word romance after paranormal tends to put men off or puts an end to the conversation. Heed the warning, paranormal romance writers.
Before too long, my DH and the young man engaged in a male conversation, after he mentioned my books had enough action to thrill most male readers and enough sex to turn his girlfriend on. By this time both my DH and I knew he was hooked. Ten minutes later he purchased three of my books. I still don’t know if he purchased them for himself or his girlfriend.
Now we don’t always have an opening like the one above, but if you listen carefully to the person(s) you are around you will find an opening similar to the one below.
I was having my nails done and three other clients were receiving pedicures. They were snowbirds who were discussing their planned trips home. When they mentioned a particular road closure, I jumped into the conversation, asking, “When did that route close?” I added that I had been out of town for the past week. One of them asked if I had been on vacation. BINGO--that was the opening I was looking for. I told them no, I’d been on a book signing tour. It was followed with, “Oh really, you’re an author?” I was immediately bombarded with questions by all three who wanted to know what I wrote, what were my titles, and eventually, “did I have any of my books with me?”
It just so happened I still had the remainder of the books from my book signing tour in my trunk. I brought four in, one for each of the three in regular paperback and one in large print, just in case any of them might have a reading/vision problem. I not only sold the four I brought in, but two more as each purchased another signed edition for a friend who they would give to when they went home.
Engaging in casual conversations with strangers has been a wonderful experience for this author and I’m happy to proclaim that I personally have sold more signed editions while meeting total strangers than I have on Amazon. Between January and the writing of this article (April) I have sold over 400 signed editions merely by engaging in conversations with people I didn’t know. Now that is not putting me on the best selling list by any means, but it has gained me a wonderful following of readers who have touched my heart—ones I am happy to say, I have met and vise versa and I know a large majority of those individuals will be back to buy more. Readers love engaging with authors and they in turn, will brag about the experience to their friends, just as though they have met some famous actor. They will remember the meeting and will do more for your career in the long run then some publicity campaigns. You would be amazed how many of them have written me and thanked me for allowing them to purchase my book directly from me then asked that I keep them informed of upcoming releases.
I hope I have given you some insight on how you can increase your following and increase your personal sales. I’d love to hear your experiences when meeting total strangers and their reaction to you being an author.
V.S. Nelson has always had a fondness for history, mythology, the occult, and the unexplained events which have occurred on this world we call home. It was no wonder she found herself writing a paranormal series.
Raised on authors like H.G. Wells and Jules Verne and coming from a long line of oral storytellers, Ms. Nelson work has been defined as innovative and fresh. She will take you by the hand and lead you into the depths of her imagination as if you are sitting next to her on the couch one minute and alive within her fantasy world the next.
She has always enjoyed reading stories with strong relationships and happy-ever-after-endings and it is reflected in her work. Even her commercial fiction, Sins of a Man, the Memoirs of a Mafia Hit man, is layered with romantic elements. I’ve heard her say she is in love with love more than once and that too is echoed in her stories.
after an exciting teaching career, which took her to the Middle East for
several years, she lives in
where she spends most of her time making love to her computer while writing,
editing or researching, seven to ten hours a day. The days she’s not writing,
you will find her with her critique partners, attending or presenting a
workshop or at a RWA (Romance Writers of America) meeting. She’s extremely
active in three RWA chapters in addition to her other associations. Arizona
She enjoys hearing from readers, fans and people with similar interests. They are more than welcome to contact her through her website http://www.authorvsnelson.com
Her latest paranormal adventure, Eternal Nights – Sekhmet’s Guardians – Book Two was released May 1st, 2013. Here is a snippet/blurb from that book.
With each passing day, Jessica’s consciousness grew stronger. For twenty years, she was content to remain as she was—trapped inside another. The life she led came to an abrupt end the moment she laid eyes on Raphael. At first, she suspected they were destined to be together--his gentle touch confirmed it. Although he didn’t know it, he ignited waves of a fiery passion that burned deep into her soul. It became brighter every day, giving her the strength she needed. Somehow she would find a way to free herself from her grandmother’s powerful magic.
For weeks she managed to enter his dream state where they interacted with one another as if they were awake. Although no real physical activity took place, he took her to the heights of passion she had only dreamed about. Where they on inside another dimension? She believed so. His mind saw her as she should be--a woman walking on two legs with two arms to hold him and a body that was made for loving only him.
To have a human body again was more than she had ever hoped for.
All of author V.S. Nelson’s books are available in Kindle format, regular paperback and large print (for those with less than perfect eyesight), through Amazon. You can find her titles and your selections by accessing her Amazon author page. http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00AXYLHF0
She, of course, offers signed print editions to fans by contacting her through her website. http://www.authorvsnelson.com
You can also find V around cyberspace at the following places.