Before pitching a product--or book--to anyone, you need to prove they will benefit from carrying your merchandise.
I know about this because I used to have a sewing business. Three years ago it was the fifth largest custom clothing business in the world--isn't that a mouth-full! But I got there by working hard, being unique and pulling in traffic. And I found, that's how I got into Barnes and Noble.
Here are some of my sets from way back when--before I quit sewing to pursue a writing career.
For now, let's get back to book signings. My hands are cramping just looking at those pictures--sewing started killing my hands and I'm only twenty-nine! Making seven to twenty-one outfits a week, well, that's bound to take its toll.
Everyone has something special to offer, whether you're a writer who can deal a mean deck of cards at night, or a housewife who's a mathematician in training. Somehow USE your gifts together. I have a friend who can paint. He went to different churches and while he talked about God, he'd paint a picture. People never forget him. Another friend reads her books to kids and then shows them card tricks.
Now, before thinking about any of this, I asked for a signing at B & N five times! They kept saying no. Then it hit me--they had no reason to say yes. I wouldn't pull in much traffic at that time.
So, I set up speaking engagements at many places in the area--schools, groups of home schoolers, churches, adults dealing with loss, writing groups etc. Anyway, if you follow this blog, you know I was terrified to even talk at an elementary assembly! I brought my violin and it went so well I was shocked.
Here's the link to that video if you haven't seen it:
After I talked at one place, I called a few bookstores and coffee shops AGAIN. "I'm speaking at many places in the area. It's going very well. I'd love to pass out flyers and advertise if you'd giving me a signing at your store," I said.
"Where are you speaking?"
I told them about the University of Phoenix and various other places. They double checked that my book was approved in their system and . . . yahoo, I got some signings. I'd finally given them a reason to say yes!
Tomorrow, I'd like to talk about being unique. Now you know how to get a signing at a nice bookstore, let's talk about making that signing a success.