We’ve seen it at WritersWeekly as well as in other magazines for writers: bookstores are not necessarily the best place to sell your books.
So what is an author to do?
As they say, think outside the box.
Recently, I realized that my neighborhood coffee house, gift shop and sandwich eatery are all wonderful places to hold events and sell novels. It’s not like the idea just came to me one morning over a cup of Earl Grey. It was actually through the encouragement of other people that got me out my door and in through the door of these establishments.
Through networking, I found a coffee house that was looking to add events to their repertoire. This place not only serves some of the best Papua New Guinea coffee I have ever tasted, but the owner has bands come in once a week to perform and offers open mic nights, too. He has a need—-to get his place on the map and activity buzzing inside. This is perfect, because I have a need to sell books so that I can put food on my dining room table.
After we decided on the date and time, the owner created a flier for my book signing and posted it on his marquee board and bulletin board. We both advertised on social media sites. The day of the event came and I set up a table where I had my five novels available as well as samples of bread in a can, a treat using the recipe at the back of my newest novel. The atmosphere couldn’t be beatósoft music played, there were cozy leather chairs for my guests to sit on, and good coffee. I relaxed, got to know those who came to see me and enjoyed the afternoon. Books sold, too, and so did a round of my bread, which really is baked in a can. The manager said I could come back anytime.
I’m all about promoting local places that are run by individuals trying to make a living in these uncertain economic times. After I’ve created a relationship with these businesses, I do my best to tell others about them. They support me by hosting events and letting me sell my wares, and I support them by posting on Facebook the drink or sandwich specials they have going on. The local gift store has fabulous handmade jewelry and when I was there doing a book signing, I made sure to take plenty of photos so that I could later showcase the shop on my blog. The local sandwich shop, run my three fine female cooks, catered one of my book signings at the indie bookstore in town. They were new in the area, and when they had their grand opening a month later, I made sure friends went there for lunch.
Look around your neighborhood and the community nearby. See what relationships await you so that you can get to know some wonderful entrepreneurs as well as sell more books. It can be the start of some beautiful friendships.
Alice J. Wisler is the author of five novels and one devotional that was just released, Getting Out of Bed in the Morning. She loves supporting local places and getting to know the stories behind the business owners. Visit her blog and see the delicious photos of bread in a can: http://www.alicewisler.blogspot.com/