This past weekend, I had the pleasure of sharing a table at the Ottawa Geek Market at the Nepean Sportsplex, and my experience once again reminded me how much I love direct sales.
I really do.
On a normal day, I have my people quota. It’s quite low. I prefer socializing in groups of 3 or 4, max around 6, and depending on the group, I have a limit of a couple of hours. Then I get tired, conversation gets difficult, and I just want to go home to a cup of tea and a book.
But you get me behind a table covered in my books and ask me to be “on” for an 8-hour stretch?
I am there.
And I’m good at it.
Want to know my secret?
I genuinely, sincerely, from the bottom of my heart, enjoy it.
As an indie author, there’s a huge push for online sales.
This makes sense! People around the world have access to our books. I have readers on pretty much every continent, and much as I would love to get to all of those places and meet them in person, it’s not feasible at the moment, which means I need to learn how to connect with them via the wonderful world wide web.
This part…I’m not so good at and continue to study so I can improve.
In person, however, there’s nothing I find easier.
I love the personal element to it, the chance to chat about books in general and find out what someone else is reading/enjoys reading/doing in ones spare time.
When I work the market in the summer, I love finding out where everyone is from, whether they work downtown and are out on their lunch break, or in from another city/country. I like to hear about what they’ve seen in Ottawa, where they’re heading next, and what their favourite part of their trip has been.
My goal when a reader comes to the table isn’t a sale. Sales are nice, of course. Sales help fund the next event, the next book, the next internet bill, but they’re not the be-all and end-all.
My primary aim is the connection. Getting my card in someone’s hand and hopefully continuing the conversation either over social media or (even better) at my next event! Having return people show up when I least expect them is always such a nice surprise, and each time I feel like I get to know them a little more.
So if you have trouble with the idea of direct sales, that they’re too intimidating or nerve-wracking, try changing your perspective on it! You’re not in it for the sales, you’re in it for the chats (and the people-watching in between).
Want some practice? Next time you go grocery shopping, ask the cashier how their day is going so far–and mean it!