Last month, I was doing what many other people were doing – holiday shopping. I try to avoid the malls and spend more of my time hitting local craft events and holiday bazaars. As I was browsing the many tables at a craft fair, I came across a table that was carrying handmade soap bars and liquid soap. I was delighted! I love handmade soap, but I have never found someone in my area who offers the liquid soap. Yes, I can make this on my own, but that takes the fun out of supporting a local crafter.
I did the smell test and chose the two liquid dispensers that I was interested in purchasing. I looked around the table for a business card. When I enjoy the product, you have a loyal customer on your hands. I couldn’t find one, so I asked the ladies behind the table for their contact info. They looked at each other a bit dumbfounded. A business card? They told me that they didn’t have any. This was their first craft event. I asked if they had a website or maybe had their goods available on Etsy? The two ladies looked at each other confused, and then it became my turn to be dumbfounded.
I finally said, “Well, what happens if I love this soap and I want to order more?”
The older woman replied, “Oh, we’ll be tabling at the blah blah blah craft event on December blah blah blah.”
Okay, she didn’t say blah blah blah. Her words just became that way in my brain. After telling them I probably wouldn't be able to attend their future event, she didn't attempt to connect with me as a customer on any level aside from selling me the two liquid soaps.
I don't mean to sound unpleasant, but how do you invest your time and money into a product, pay to table a craft fair, and then drop the ball because no one can contact you with praise, feedback or reorders? My inner entrepreneur was silently screaming. I smiled and left knowing that I probably wouldn’t see those two again. And the sad part? I adored their handmade soap. I would have happily ordered more.
What does this have to do with you, dear writer? Everything! Your book is your business. You have to make sure people can contact you. For a reasonable fee, you can visit sites likes Vistaprint or GotPrint and create a simple but effective card with your name, email, and website/blog address.
You never know when you’ll be sitting in a doctor’s office or at your kid’s sporting event and someone starts talking about writing or being a book nerd. You will want to tell them about your writing and leave them with a way to follow you further. Every encounter with someone who loves books is an opportunity! Don't lose out because you were unprepared.