Sunday, November 27, 2011

Only Pretty People Sell Books

I would like to first apologize for the irregularness of my blog postings. If you are one of my many readers you will know that I have been book touring for the past year and normally post the day after I return home and another day out the week. Well I think all of the touring as caught up with me and I have been a bit under the weather. Thank goodness this years’ touring has come to much needed end. I love meeting people and the sales are great but this sista needs to rest. Now on to what stood out to me at the Miami Book Fair International.

Miami was treating me well.  I had just signed my 37th book when a tall well-dressed older gentleman approached my booth.  He smiled and asked me was I enjoying the festival. Of course I was, and I happily told him so. Then, he inquired if I was selling any books. At that moment I knew he had no intention of buying any of mine but yes, I was selling and I told him so. The next thing he said left me standing there with my mouth agape.

“You are only selling books because you are very pretty.”

Now I am a far cry from Angelina Jolie but way better looking than Princess Fiona and not ashamed to admit I get my looks from my mother, but to insinuate my sales were based on my looks rubbed me the wrong way. With one eyebrow raised I informed him that along with good looks I had a winning personality, dressed professionally, had a great book cover, topics readers enjoy, and yes I did learn a few things at Indiana State University while there on a track scholarship. I also told him that by his theory then all of my women readers were either lesbian or bisexual, and the invites I had to speak to young women in middle/high schools and church congregations were only to parade me around. He ducked his head in embarrassment and walked off.

As an author it has always intrigued me how other authors spend more time away from their booths checking on other vendors than focusing on selling their own booth. In this case the not so gentleman was the spouse of an author who had a booth at the event as well. I found out when he came back the following day and tried to strike up another conversation with me. His wife saw me at the booth, stopped in front of it, looked me up and down and then stormed off. With his wife gone the man leaned in and whispered that his wife was not selling well. By his offhanded statement I assumed he felt his wife was not pretty, because remember I only was selling because I was.

In order to sell books we as authors must first check their attitude at the door, dress presentable, be personable, accept that not everyone will buy your book, and know that just because someone does not buy your book doesn’t mean they won’t pass your information along to someone else. I learned this at an early age by watching my mother get dressed up almost every day to go door to door selling Avon. She knew that no one would by anything from her if she didn’t look the part and for those who didn’t buy from my mother, they would gladly inform their friends of her amazing personality and product she was selling. 

The bottom line is being pretty will not equate to book sales. Looks may get someone to take a second glance at you but it’s the personality and quality of the book that will make them pick up your hard work and purchase it. 

Until Next Time,