A little while ago, I was asked by Ryan Casey for feedback on how well my (home-made) bookmarks were being received. Well, I can tell you that since November – a period of four and a half months - I’ve given out every one of the 500 I made in those first exciting days.
Last Thursday I had to open up my next batch of 600, which I’d made back in January. Five days later, I’ve already given out thirty or so.
I mentioned a while ago that my day job keeps me busy, sending me (randomly, it seems) to all parts of England, Scotland and Ireland. This gives me the opportunity to meet a great many people, from engineers to office workers, and allows me to (tentatively) offer my book to those that seem receptive to the idea of a supernatural romance novel.
The conversation, always a work in progress, usually opens like this;
‘Do you read much?’
‘Well, can I give you one of these?’ *Hands over bookmark.*
‘Oh, what is it?’
‘Just my little contribution to literature.’
‘You wrote this?’
‘What’s it about?’
And so the conversation begins. For my thoughts on how to best describe a book, click here.
Today, I hit gold. I asked one lady if she read supernatural romance and her reply was ‘My Kindle is absolutely stuffed with it!’ If I hadn’t intrigued her with a bookmark, she wouldn’t have gone on to BUY IT!!! Woot, as so many people are fond of saying. :D
My job also, as I circle the country and begin to pop up in places I haven’t visited for months (or even years), allows me to chat to old friends who automatically ask me ‘what have you been doing?’ What a gift! Immediately, I drop a bookmark onto the table and tell them that I’ve been writing a book.
‘You wrote this?’
‘What’s it about?’
and so on…
The point of all this reminiscing is that swag – even home-made swag – is a conversation starter, an ice-breaker, a way of introducing the fact that the person opposite the conversationalistee (IS a word, so there! And if it isn’t, it ought to be) is a bona-fide author and that the said conversationalistee (I’m not so sure it is a word now) ought to be bowing and scraping and muttering ‘I’m not worthy O Great One.’
Or at the very least, they should say ‘Sure, I’ll buy your book. I realise how difficult it must be to have applied that much dedication to your art and produce something of worth.’
‘Oh, thanks,’ is nice too, although not often productive in a salesy way. I DID get my hand shaken in a congratulatory manner not so long ago (for getting published), so that was a boost for me and my oft-perforated ego.
Anyway, enough of the self-worship. I’m not worthy of it. But you are. If you have spent a lot of time creating a complete story or poem and want to publish / have published it, then why on Terra shouldn’t you advertise? There are other methods of introducing your work to people. Mine is a simple free giveaway that starts a conversation. It’s a must for me…someone who’s essentially a non-people person.
And it’s captured a few extra sales along the way. The product of a bit of graphic manipulation, a colour printer, laminator and a cheap guillotine, it’s a low-budget method of shifting a few extra books.
Don’t walk amongst potential punters in silence – be interesting, be something a little bit special. One day you may just introduce yourself to a literary agent or publisher. Or Steven Spielberg.
Okay, that last one was a bit of a stretch, but you don’t know who his friends’ friends are, do you?
Tell the world that you’re out there – and write on!
P.S. In the interests of balance, I feel that I should say this; I may have handed out over 500 bookmarks – but I have yet to sell 500 books. Not every one strikes gold. However, the bookmarks might lie around for months or even years before triggering someones curiosity – whereas a fleeting memory is pretty much gone for good and is very unlikely to result in a sale.