Saturday, April 20, 2013
Networking in Person
If you're serious about making a career in writing mysteries then networking is essential. After all, you are going to run into these people again and again at conferences and other author events. I've helped up-and-comers and veterans have helped me. In fact, I can't think of a more welcoming group than people who write about ways to kill.
But you will have lots of chances to meet and greet readers, librarians, and booksellers as well. This is networking, too, in case you missed it. And there's no better way to hand sell books than to get in good with librarians and booksellers.
I can't tell you how many times newbie authors shrug off libraries. People only borrow books from libraries, they say. That's a lost sale! But nothing could be further from the truth. Remember, libraries have to BUY the books in their stacks. And if they have a lot of branches, it would be wonderfully swell if they bought at least one book for each branch. That's a good chunk of sales right there. And if you have several formats of your book--large print, foreign language, audio--that's even MORE sales. And let's face it. My books come out in hardcover at a $26 price point. Readers who aren't familiar with my work may not feel comfortable plunking down that much money, so they try it at the library first. Hopefully, they might like it enough to buy the other books in the series.
If you're invited to an author luncheon sort of event, don't just sit aloof at the head table and chat only with your bookseller or the organizers. Get out of your seat before festivities begin and work the group! This is like a wedding--your wedding--and you should be going to each table and chatting up the people at the table. These are your guests. Enjoy yourself. If you enjoy yourself, your audience will. And a happy audience likes to give your books a chance.
You just never know when or where a good networking opportunity will present itself; in the grocery line, at a swap meet, on vacation--anywhere you find yourself. I'm not saying to hard sell, but if the opportunity arises when someone asks what you do, have that bookmark ready to give away.