Saturday, May 21, 2011

Why Fans Are The Best Salespeople For Your Book

Alright, so this is a bit of a story, so please bear with me.

Last night a couple friends and I went out for sushi at a new place in town. Sushi Ai in St. Catharines, if you're in town check it out. Anyways, since it's a long weekend we all had things to do, so after dinner we went our separate ways. I headed to Future Shop to pick up a new set of headphones for my iPod, as the ones I have right now are dying.

Well wouldn't you know it, there's a Chapters nearby. (For those of you outside of Canada, Chapters/Indigo is a major chain of bookstores, really the only chain of bookstores operating inside the country.) So of course, being a bibliophile, I had to go in and browse. You'd almost think I planned it that way.

The store was under renovations. Turns out they're expanding the children's section, which I'm all for. I don't have kids, but get a child hooked on reading at a young age and they're more likely to remain a reader as an adult. Luckily they still had the science fiction and fantasy sections in place, so that's where I started browsing.

Guess what I found? Napier's Bones, a book I recently wrote a review for was on the shelves. Now, it was way down at the bottom, which is unfortunate, but hey, it's always nice to see stuff from Chizine in stores. So I snapped a pic with my phone and prepared to move on.

I rounded the corner and ran in to a lovely young woman and her mother browsing the other side of the fantasy section and looking at the Song of Ice and Fire books by George R. R. Martin. I make a comment about it being a great series and we get to talking. While we're talking it hits me, maybe she'd like to read Napier's Bones? It's fantasy, it's different, and I know it's a great read, so I walk over, grab a copy and bring it back and sing the book's praises. We chat for about another minute and then I leave them to their deliberations.

Now, you're thinking, so what, big deal. I recommended a book and that's it. Well, there's another part to the story. A few minutes later I was browsing in the Military History section and this lovely young woman and her mother approach me and thank me for the recommendation and say they're going to purchase Napier's Bones instead of the George R. R. Martin, all because of what I said. Cool!

Why did I recommend the book? Well, aside from it being a great read, I met the author at Ad Astra this year and saw him on a couple panels. He came across as personable, intelligent, basically a nice guy who knows what he's talking about. I know that this is his first published book, and that if it succeeds he'll get the opportunity to publish more, and I want to read those. Also, he signed my book as I was purchasing it, with a personalized salutation. So, I want to help him.

Now, so far I've only recommended this book to one person, but I'm sure I'll recommend it to others in the future. So, say based upon my recommendation, five people pick up the book, and they get five to pick it up, and so on and so forth. So one convention appearance could ripple outwards and end up selling hundreds of books. Who knows?

It's something for me to keep in mind if I ever do get published. As much as I like to stand at the back of the crowd and observe things going on, when I'm an author I'm going to have to be willing to stand in front of a crowd and project that presence and personality that will interest people enough to pick up my book, so that they can recommend it to others and start that ripple effect for what I've produced.

My only regret is that I didn't think to get the woman's number. I was so geeked out about the book and the author it didn't occur to me that, hey, this woman tracked me down through the entire store to tell me she's going to buy something on my recommendation. Doh! There's a reason I'm still single.

Oh well.

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