Lately, I have had one too many facepalm moments. It just saddens me. I see authors in prime opportunity positions to network and build their fanbase, and then they drop the ball. Sometimes so hard that it plummets through the floor into the far depths of doom.
But, I am going to use these moments to hopefully inspire and nudge some of you. Those who need the inspiring and nudging. Or maybe you are neither, but you understand my pain, and you are reading in solidarity. Either way, pull up a chair and listen.
A few weeks ago I attended an author event. There were about thirty different authors from around the area tabling with their work. As I approached a table, the author perked up and began to tell me about her book – which is great, that is what you should do when someone walks up to your table. I kept eye contact and listened to her. I appreciated her time, but ultimately her book wasn’t one I felt drawn to purchase. I thanked her for her time and let her know that I just arrived and was going to do a walk around before making any purchases – which was true!
Within seconds, the author’s smile dropped, and she plopped back into her chair. I was stunned to see her … sulking!
Apparently, she was annoyed that I had wasted her time since I didn’t throw a twenty dollar bill at her as soon as she finished telling me about her book. What a complete turn off for a customer and reader.
I have been tabling events for over fifteen years, and I understand that the initial contact with a potential customer is everything. I will forever remember that lady as the adult-child who was angry that I didn’t buy her book. When you have a large space packed with vendors, you can’t possibly think that every person attending is going to buy from everyone. Some people may stroll in off the street after reading an outdoor sign, eager to check out the event, and not even have any money on them.
Of course, you want to sell books, but at the very least, you want to be remembered positively. Maybe if this particular author had just simply handed me her card or bookmark and wished me a fun time, I would have thought about her book for a future gift for a family member or friend.
Unfortunately, she did not and I will not.