Now, calling someone out of the blue to your table is an art, one that you have to foster. In the selling business, it is called, the “hook”. Some might say that this is because it’s like hooking fish, but that’s not a very nice way to think of your readers, so I’d rather think it is like the “hook” in a story, the thing that makes you want to read more. You might say that it’s half a dozen of one and twelve of the other, but to me it makes a difference.
How do you use a “hook”?
Some people compliment a person’s clothes, or something about them that they like, others have a tagline. The point of the exercise is for a complete stranger to come and talk to you. This is where the practice comes in handy. Remember: most people don’t know you, and could care less about you. You have to give them a reason, and that’s entirely on you.
I’m not telling you that you have to do this. Only that you should if you want to sell books.
I’ll tell you though, doing it at the Byward Market is hard. You’ll have success, but you mostly will have failure. The people who go there are not there to buy books. They are everybody else. But you can still sell books, because there are readers everywhere, even though they may be elusive and sparsely sprinkled. You can surprise the hidden reader with what you have, and they will thank you for it.
This summer I did the Byward Market for the second time, and I had a lady approach me after I invited her to my table, and I did my pitch, and we got to talking, and she almost started crying because she was apparently having a horrible day, and she thanked me because she thought my book would get her mind off things. This wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t called her out of the blue.
The point is to try. After that, things get a lot easier.
Especially at events that are sales oriented, like stores, books sales and conventions.