Tuesday, June 19, 2012

When opportunity knocks, answer the door
By Sally Carpenter

            Recently I was at a local theater to review a play for the newspaper where I work. Before the show started the lady sitting next to me said hello. I wasn’t use to strangers talking to me at shows but I said hello back. To strike up a conversation I asked if she had seen other plays at this theater. She replied no, this was her first. I said I was here as a theater critic.
            She leaned forward and said, “You’re a writer? How nice!” She introduced herself as a member of a women’s club that brought in artistic people to speak at their meetings. I said I would love to come and talk to the group; can we schedule a time?
She didn’t have a calendar with her. I said, “I do!” I pulled my pocket calendar from my purse and tentatively penciled in a date to meet with her club. I gave her my business card and told her to contact me to confirm the date.
At another time, a friend invited me to join a group of her pals who come together to watch movies. I took two copies of my book, The Baffled Beatlemaniac Caper. I introduced myself as a writer and talked about my book. One woman was quite interested and ended up buying the book on the spot!
Writers never know when marketing opportunities will come along. The trick is to be open and willing to engage in conversation without being pushy or aggressive.
Many authors keep a box of their books in the truck of their car in case they meet a possible sale. If nothing else, authors should always have business cards on hand for follow-up contacts and a calendar or smartphone so they can schedule appointments and write down information.
The world is your oyster, so get cracking!


Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

Right on, Sally. This is exactly what should happen. My problem is I shine in the early hours and fade in the afternoon.

Marti Colvin said...

OK, newbee dumb question warning
When you take your books with you to sell on the spot at unexpected opportunities, do you have to charge/figure the sales tax for whatever city you're in?

Marti Colvin
aka IC Enger

Anonymous said...

My understanding is that authors who only sell a small number of books at a few events don't need to charge sales tax. That might be different from authors who go to large festivals or events weekly and sell a large number of books.
Sally Carpenter