Five tips for tackling a scary task
Halloween is over, but there are many scary tasks in store for the newbie fiction author. Today was another milestone day.
For the first time, I walked into a bookstore and said, ‘Hi, I’m a local author, and I’d like to ask if you’d consider stocking my book.’
But I really did it. Not once, but twice. And then I added a trip into a strange libary as a bonus, suggesting that they too might like to have my *divine* work on their shelves.
Now that my pulse rate has slowed somewhat, I can share some ideas for this task:
- Be prepared. I kind of was. I prepared a one-page ‘Introduction to The Pale‘, on which I listed its freshly-developed tag (‘dystopian sci-fi with talking dogs!’), the link to purchase, RRP, a teaser re the characters (‘Meet the canini…’), and a short bio with contact details.
- Have a book to show them. I *LOVE* the cover that Michelle organised for me (thanks to Elijah Toten), and it really goes down well with prospective buyers/readers.
- Be prepared to give up a hard copy. Yikes! One bookshop – a very nice bookshop – said they’d love to look into it and could they have a review copy right now – so I had to say ‘Yes, of course!’ and watch the precious paper disappear behind the counter.
- Live your local writing scene. It helps that I sometimes go inside these bookstores, as they are in shopping strips near where I meet friends for coffee. When I made my claim to be a local author, they came back at me with other names and a degree of excitement. Lucky for me I know a couple of these people from work (at uni), so I was able to join the booksellers’ enthusiasm. But being aware of similar titles to yours, or of other local writers, seemed to ease the conversation.
- Populate your website. The bookstore that didn’t ask for a hard copy wanted to know if Odyssey had published a sample chapter online? I said, adlibbing quickly, not yet, but that there is a sample section about to be published on my own website.
Both bookstores said they have heard of Odyssey and would look to order after checking out the book. Fingers crossed!
The image is from Lilliput Lyrics, a children’s book published in 1899, courtesy of the free images provided by the British Library on Flickr
Image taken from page 180 of 'Lilliput Lyrics ... Edited by R. Brimley Johnson. Illustrated by Chas. Robinson'