The Hard Sell

August 13, 2013 at 12:19 pm

Last Saturday I went to my second book signing. Sadly, it was not as successful as the first one. The first time I had a signing, I sold six copies. This time I only sold one.
The bookstore where I was signing is a charming, small store owned by a couple who are supportive of local authors. It was also National Bookshop Day, so there were a good number of people in the shop, but this shop does have some good children’s picture books, and to celebrate the day they had in face painters and children’s performers … which meant that many of the store’s inhabitants were younger than my target audience.
It didn’t help that I was feeling shy. I didn’t want to interrupt the goings-on on by telling people about my book. I knew they weren’t there for me, and I can’t stand giving people the ‘hard sell’. I wish I had someone to do that for me. So, after two hours of nothing, I decided to sell … hard.
The next customer I engaged was interested in sci-fi, but he was looking for a book for his teenage son. I was right in saying that I didn’t think mine would appeal to him. Then a lady came in, and after she went to look at some greeting cards on a rack behind me, I turned around and we started to chat. She was the chatty type. I tried to sell her my book, first for her granddaughter, but she’s only nine, so a bit too young. What about her daughter? She only gets ebooks now. I gave the lady a bookmark so her daughter could buy the ebook online if she wants. Then she went on to tell me how many books she herself had. ‘Well, you’d better add mine to your collection, then,’ I said.
‘You know what?’ she replied. ‘I will!’
I can’t describe how relieved I felt, especially after pushing so hard. I felt terrible afterwards, even though she hadn’t seemed to mind. I hate it when people do that to me.
That’s my biggest problem with this kind of thing. I don’t want people to see me as a pushy salesperson. I don’t want to badger them into buying my book. I hate every minute of it. Sure, if they’re interested, that’s great, but to hound them until they buy? That’s not me.
I have another book signing this Saturday. It’s at a bookstore in a major shopping centre. They usually get quite busy in there, so hopefully I will have more luck. I do hope I don’t have to sell quite so hard, though, because it’s not always easy to sell when you are cringing inside.

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