Last week I noticed a recently opened independent bookstore in the suburbs of Cape Town. Very excited by this I went in to have a look and introduce myself as a local author. On chatting to the owner you can only imagine my deflated ego 🙂 on hearing that not only did they not know of me but that they’d never heard of my books, but more importantly that my distributor hadn’t sent a representative around there-ever.
Previously I mentioned that a book is a marketable commodity and must be sold. By me walking into that bookshop equates to a salesman cold calling. The VERY BIG difference is that I’m EXTREMELY passionate about my product- and that store owners are always very accommodating and like meeting local authors- thereby making “cold calling” very easy and more often than not a pleasure as usually a relationship is instantly formed by two people who have very much in common.
So I walked into the bookstore and after introducing myself to the owner, after a short while, she asks if I do public readings. Of course I do. This is the great part of being an author as through public readings you get to meet your readers, interact with them , and they get to purchase signed copies of your book. Never underestimate this part of PR as I’ve never met a reader who was unhappy to meet a real life author.
The bookstore sends out a blurb to their mailing list informing them of a reading and so do I.
Creative Story time
For story time this Saturday 21 November, local children’s author Gary Hirson will be reading from his interactive book ”The Magic that is Ours”, a wonderful activity book that helps promote creativity. He will then lead the children through one of the imagination stirring activities in the book. Time: 10:30am Location: Folio Books, 207 Main Rd, Newlands. Tel. 021 685 7190.
It’s also nice to try and get the local media there for a picture or two as they’re alwyas looking for local content.
As both books are interactive my readings are interactive too. I start off with a “magic” card trick followed by a fun exercise with the children where they get to use their imaginations. Then I read from the book where I also show them the illustrations- all of this taking a maximum of 20 minutes. I always take along paper and colouring in material and while the children draw a picture related to the story I usually tell the parents a brief story on why I wrote the book and how I ended up self-publishing.
As with many bookstores they will take on consignment stock. I left 10 copies of both The Magic that’s Ours and The Power that’s Ours. These were delivered with a delivery note. The suggested retail price was discussed as well as the cost price from me to them. The terms of consignment are negotiated and I’m very happy to leave them there for 6 months with a monthly call to check on sales and to invoice. It’s important to have a stock system so you know who has what, what terms and your price to them. Even though I don’t conciously want to cut out the middle-man, my distributor, by me walking into that store a direct relationship was formed between me and the owner. The profit from the books sold there comes to me without any percentage going to the distributor. But if the distributor had called on them I still would have done a public reading and would have been more than happy for them to take their percentage cut of the sales. Doing the reading is the most important part of it all.
Through one cold call, I got to find out about a new bookstore, meet the owners, do a reading and sell some books.