Advice for Visiting Bookstores
I talked to my wonderful and excellent publicist, Julie Schoerke from JKScommunications, and she gave me the following advice about visiting bookstores. I thought others might benefit from her experience. Although it’s specific to my book, the six areas to talk about should be relevant to all.
First, remember 5 Things I learned from Denver. Use those lessons as a frame for these.
- Introduce yourself and be nice.
- Start with a short (one or two sentence) synopsis of your book. Here’s mine: “Open Wounds is the story of Cid Wymann, a tough kid from Queens who fights to survives a harsh upbringing in 1930s/1940s New York City. Cid succeeds and comes of age through the help of two father figures, both cripples – one emotionally and one physically – who teach him about the discipline, art, and science of fighting with the sword.” Okay… it’s a work in progress. But it needs to be something you feel comfortable saying out loud and it’s probably best if you just memorize it. As they say in acting school, say it like you just thought of it at that moment.
- Give them an idea of how to market your book – especially if it appeals to a specific niche or target population. But remember… your book can appeal to everybody, just some folks might be more likely to pick it up than others. For Open Wounds I need to point out that it is a book for boys and young men in order to let YA booksellers and buyers know that it is not a girl targeted book. Boy books are out there but few and far between so that’s a way to get the attention of the bookseller and differentiate my book from the deluge of others coming through the door alongside it.
- Differentiate further if you have comparisons to other books from blurbs or reviews. For Open Wounds I have two. “It’s a cross between The Book Thief and Gangs of New York.” And… “It’s part Oliver Twist and part Captain Blood.” The first I’ll use for the younger generation of booksellers and the other for more “experienced” (read my age) booksellers who might actually have seen the movie Captain Blood or read the Sabatini book from which it came – which, by the way, if you haven’t you should. It a great story.
- Let them know you want to help them part 1: Say you’d love to do book fairs, books clubs, and school night special events. Remember you’re doing it for the exposure.
- Let them know you want to help them part 2: Say you’d love to sign any books they have on the shelf (remember a signed book is a sold book – or so they tell me) and that you’d be happy to put the stickers that say “author autographed” on the cover for them. Also let them know that you’d be happy to do any requests for signed books that will be mailed out – if they get them – it’s a great advertising point for gifts.