Go for the networking. . .

I recently returned  from a book fair sponsored by a private library. These folks receive no funds from city or other public entity to run a community library. Their annual book fair accommodates 42 authors, 10 speaking slots, and networking. The fair attracts new library members and offers a much needed service to the reading/writing community in the region. The priceless part of the event for everyone is networking.

The author next to me gave me tips on how to sell a book when a potential customer walks up to my display. Simple: hand the book to the person and give them a 30-second pitch. You’ve heard this before referred to as an elevator pitch to an agent or publisher. Same technique works for individual readers. No strong arm, just concise and inviting.

A writer across the room from me came by to chat about the photographs I had on display. Seems he lived in the same area of the country in which my book was set. We talked about towns we knew and changes in lifestyles and exchanged business cards.

I perused the room, stopped at a magazine editor’s table and chatted up his new publication. After several minutes, the contributing editor said “Get in touch. We can use some of your non-fiction pieces and maybe your photographs.”

Event organizers checked by throughout the day. I donated a book to their library collection. No telling where that potential ripple of interest may end up.

For every book I sold, I gathered a mailing address, got back home, and sent a thank you. Sent a note to the organizers also. I call this building a fan base.

Book sales for the day did not monetarily balance out my expenses, but like I say, the networking has a cumulative, priceless effect.

Little events and gestures add up.


  1. Your description of the day became great tips for writers. We can’t underestimate the value of face-to-face contact with readers and other writers. Future sales are almost as important as evernt sales. In my thank-you note, I also mentioned the mayor, director of the chamber–and the wonderful townspeople we met. Especially the little restaurant where we were invited in for potato soup as they were closing.


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