I have just completed my first “meet and greet” to publicize my novel An Unplanned Encounter. Thank you Barnes and Noble. It appeared to be successful – based on the number of copies sold during the three hours and an invitation to return to the Bookstore next month. Some thoughts for would be author “sales people” who might be anticipating similar events:
First, it is important to prepare. Know what you will write when you sign the book, purchase the necessary pens (and a notepad to make sure you spell each person’s name correctly), have your advertising paraphernalia prepared (I included book reviews, postcards, press articles, book marks, and a World War II poster featuring a Lancaster Bomber), and be sure you have a good supply of your book (I displayed 22 copies on the table). I would have offered visitors chocolate-chip cookies but these were taboo because of liability and competition with the in-store coffee shop!!
And then there is the event itself. The Bookstore every 30 minutes or so announced my presence. This made me feel important. Many of the Bookstore associates called by to wish me well. This made me feel relevant. Then there came the Bookstore clients and potential purchasers of my novel. Greeting them and engaging them in conversation is an art. Be too forceful and they walk away; say nothing and wait for them to start the conversation; they walk away. It’s the polite welcome and early diagnosis of their interest that is important. My visitors that day fell into 3 categories. There were those people who knew me and were surprised to see me at the “meet and greet” table; there were those who had time and were curious to learn more about the content of the book; and then there were those who were drawn by the military aspects of the book, with the Lancaster Bomber acting as fuel for the conversation. It was this group where the discussion was longest and the content the most enthusiastic. When my 3 hours came to an end, I was still engaged in stimulating conversation. It was fun.; my anxieties had disappeared, and as I left I received a document indicating the amount the Bookstore shortly will be paying me for the copies of my book that I sold. All in all, a fabulous experience. I look forward to more of these events.”