Erotica Readers & Writers Association
Home | Erotic Books | Authors Resources | Inside The Erotic Mind | Erotica Gallery
Adult Movies | Sex Toys | Erotic Music | Email Discussion List | Links




'10 Authors Insider Tips

Cooking Up A Storey
by Donna George Storey
Have More Good Sex
I Can Do Better ...
Trying to Get the Feeling
Plotting and Planning
Character Profiles
Discovery Draft
Be Bad to Be Good
E-Book Revolution
Naked for Halloween
Sex With Pilgrims


FictionCraft
by Louisa Burton
The Music of Words
The Balancing Act
Your Fictional World
Backstory & Foreshadowing


The Fine Art of Submission
by Shanna Germain
Nailing the Query Letter
Banish the Boring Bio
Becoming a Market Master
Become a Market Master, 2
Backstory & Foreshadowing
Enticing An Editor, Part 1
Enticing An Editor, Part 2
Contracts, Money & More


Serious about Smut
by Vincent Diamond
No More Horsing Around
Short Stuff
Selling Short Stories
Editors' Pet Peeves
Settings: Beyond Time & Place
Beating Up Your Scenes
Selling Your Books in Person
Staying in the Saddle


The Write Stuff
by Ashley Lister
Broken Rainbows
Talk the Talk
Equations
10 Commandments for Writing
Plotting to Avoid
Cover Story
Rewriting




'10 Smutters Lounge

Ashley Lister Submits
by Ashley Lister
St Valentine's Day
Renaming Body Parts
Sex, Cigarettes & Erotic Fiction


Between the Lines
with Ashley Lister
C. Sanchez-Garcia
Emerald
Kathleen Bradean
Lucy Felthouse
Neve Black
PS Haven
Tracey Shellito
Tresart L. Sioux


Cracking Foxy
with Robert Buckley
Plenty of Miles Left
Don't Worry, Be Happy
Fly the Unfriendly Skies
Coffee Time
Castrated Words
Virtual vs. Actual Romance
Bait
The View from Gallows Hill


Get All Worked Up
with J.T. Benjamin
The Fashion Industry
The Same Old Same Old
Writing Porn
About the Closet
... About Spirituality
Making Sense of Religion
Worked Up About Monogamy
What's Next
All Worked Up About Nature
Still All Worked Up...


Sex Is All Metaphors
by Jean Roberta
Holiday Ghosts
Love and Romance
An "Interracial" Epic
Trying to Make It Go Away
Sexual Etiquette
Sex and Children
People Against Bad Things
Virtual Acceptance
His Cold Eyes, His Granite Jaw
A Flash of Northern Light

Serious about Smut

by Vincent Diamond

Selling Your Books in Person

 

Serious About Smut by Vincent DiamondSelling books directly to readers is a very personal, hands-on approach to marketing your titles. It can give you instant feedback on what readers are looking for, like, and buy. It can earn you some cash sales. And it lets potential readers meet and feel invested in you as a person as well as an author. After several years of selling books at a variety of events, I've developed some tips for making booth sales work for you:

1- Evaluate your genre and market then decide which events will be right for you and your book. For example, if you write fetish erotica then the local fetish conference might be just the right place. If you've written a nonfiction title find out where people interested in your topic gather. A book about leather daddies could be sold at a leather store event or a leather daddies weekend. In short, think outside the narrow box of I-must-sell-my-book-at-a-book-festival. That's not necessarily true.

2- Think in terms of starting small and local to test the market and get a sense of cost vs. return. A local festival will have less expensive booth rental fees than a huge, national event. It will be easier for you to travel to, you may have local fans that will come out to support you, and it might be possible to get media coverage if you send out a press release with enough advance notice. Small, local festivals may have more of a hometown and easy-going vibe where a huge, commercial festival will have a lot of hustle-and-bustle. Consider trying one or two local events as a test run before you commit to something that requires a lot of expense, long travel, or a bigger commitment than you can make. Start small, learn, and grow if results warrant expansion.

3- Consider teaming up with another writer to share the expense and the work. The logistics of unpacking, setting up, running a booth all day, then re-packing can be daunting. Sharing the work is both fun and productive. For a local fest, almost any other local erotica writer might be interested. For a larger, more genre-specific festival, try asking a writer with similar interests. Having someone to spell you while you eat lunch, hit the restroom, or just take a stroll around the event is a physical and mental relief. And it's fun to chat with another writer as the day progresses. You can help cross-sell your books, and hand out promotional items to customer who do buy from one of you.

4- The week before the event, confirm your vendor status by contacting the festival organizers, write up your packing list, and recruit a helper. Items you'll want to take include: tables and chairs (if you're not renting them from the festival), a tablecloth, posters of your book cover, a banner with your name and book cover, promotional items such as bookmarks, postcards, pens, key chains, etc., business cards, brochure or chapbooks with a free except from your book, a change fund for cash sales, a nice pen to sign autographs with, and, of course, your books. Items that I've found make the day feel more comfortable include: a cooler with food and drinks, toilet paper and moist towelettes (many festivals are outdoors and have only portable toilets), a pillow for your back, insect repellant, a hat, sunscreen, or clothing for cold and/or rainy weather.

5- The day before the event, pack up your items using your list. A rolling suitcase or dolly can help with moving heavy books. Box up the other items and label them for easy unpacking. Unpack in setup order: table, tablecloth, banner, books, then the rest. If you're not familiar with the locale, print off a map, and get exact directions on where to unload. Decide when you need to leave, set your alarm, and get a good night's sleep!

6- At most events, a vendor unloading area is set up. This is where having a helper is important because you'll need to transport your items to the designated booth area, unpack them, then go park your vehicle. Even if you have to hire a local high-school or college student for an hour, doing this with an assistant is much easier than trying to do setup by yourself. If you're sharing the booth with other authors, you can spell one another, and take turns lugging items back and forth.

How many books can you sell? Zero to thirty has been my experience based on going to small-ish festivals with attendance of less than 10,000. Of course, the larger the event and the more people attending, the more chances you have to make a sale. If you have multiple titles available, bring all of them. (A display with lots of colorful book covers can often garner attention in a way a single title can't.) If you only have one book, consider using your author discount to buy a few other titles from your publisher in the same genre. Be optimistic and take as many copies as you can comfortably haul, especially for a one-day event. You'll only have that one chance to make the sale so don't miss out by running out of books.

How do you actually work a booth? Try these tactics.

1- Make eye contact and break the ice. Your first goal is to simply get people to stop walking and look at your booth and your books. A simple "good morning or hello, how are you?" is one way to start. Is you're at festival of some sort, ask how they're enjoying it. Say it with a smile and try to be genuine. Vary your greeting—you'll get sick of saying the same thing all day long so try variations. When you do get someone to stop, ask an open-ended question that can't be answered with a "yes" or "no". "What do you like to read?" is much better than "Do you like to read?"

If this is hard for you (and for some writers, it really is hard), work yourself up to it by greeting every 10th person, then every 5th, then every other one. Most folks at events travel in pairs or groups so you'll have wider coverage by letting your gaze encompass everyone. You'll be able to tell the serious reader by how quickly they come up to the table, whether they grab any books right away, what sort of questions they ask, and how much they talk back and forth with you.

2- If you're able to, try to stand up most of the time you're "onstage." Standing and moving shows a bit of interest and energy. Of course, if you have to sit, work on projecting your voice (events are often noisy) and good spirits in your greetings. Smile, be enthusiastic, engage the people across the table from you.

3- Once you have a sense of what your prospect enjoys reading, you can steer them toward your books, remind them that friends and family may enjoy your book(s), or steer them to your fellow author(s) at the booth.

Get a book into their hands! Hand them one. (Most people will take something handed to them.) Give them a sentence-or-two synopsis —this is about a sub that falls for another sub—then watch their eyes. Once you see them start to skim the back cover copy or interior blurb, SHUT UP! Don't distract them from focusing on the book; let them read in silence.

4- And, since you're probably standing, don't loom! It's natural to lean forward and want to flip pages for people but try not to invade their personal space bubble. Even though you'll probably have a table in between you, make the conscious effort to step or lean back as they're reading so they don't feel crowded and pressured.

If they're really interested they'll start flipping through the pages. When they look up, they may ask how much? (Even if you have signs up on the table with prices, most people ignore them.) Tell them the price, (and it's *always* a sale price for whatever event you're at), let them know about any discounts you can offer (three for forty dollars, covering sales tax, etc.), and smile. And ask, "May I inscribe that for you?" Always double-check how to spell their name and sign away.

5- If they don't want to buy right now, that's fine; you can still make a good impression and make a connection. Give them a business card, a chapbook, a brochure, a postcard, whatever you've brought with you to give away. It should have your name, website, book title(s), and email on it so you can be contacted. Shake their hand if that feels appropriate, tell them how they can order your book online or through a bookseller, and send them on their way with a warm feeling about you and your books.

6- If you're sharing a booth with other authors, mention their books, too. Maybe you've written a smutty historical romance and your fellow author has a sexy science fiction story. Cross-sell each other's work if the person you're talking to doesn't seem enthused about your title. And as a reminder, if your fellow author is talking with someone, don't interrupt and try to pitch your own book. Let your fellow writer hand off folks to you. Of course, if either of you make a sale, it's a nice touch to slip a postcard or bookmark from the other author into the book you've sold.

7- If at all possible, eat away from the booth or at least out of sight. At the bare minimum, move your chair to the rear of the booth and take small bites so you can swallow quickly and respond to someone stopping by. People will feel awkward about interrupting your meal so try to keep the food out of sight/behind a chair/something, and be ready to greet the public when needed. Remember, you've only got the booth space for X number of hours so make good use of the time you have access to the public walking by.

8- Make notes about who buys the book. What are the demographics? Jot down gender and age range, whether they've got kids, what their interests are. If you've inscribed books to folks, keep track of their names so you can thank them on your blog/website/social page later on. The point is to educate yourself about your market and your audience, give you ideas on other ways to reach that market, and to make that personal connection that helps you win readers and fans.

9- Try to enjoy yourself! Make up stories about people walking by, eavesdrop on conversations, make quick notes for story ideas, snatches of dialogue, etc. You've paid good money to be in attendance; you may as well have a productive time while you're selling books.

By using these tips, working a booth can be a much more profitable and enjoyable experience for you. Done well, working a booth will earn you book sales, new readers, and good word-of-mouth. Have fun, get out there, and sell!

Vincent Diamond
November 2010


If you have comments or questions about this column, please send them to Vincent Diamond

Find more of Vincent's Serious about Smut in ERWA 2010 Archive.

______
"Serious about Smut" © 2010 Vincent Diamond. All rights reserved.

About the Author:  The alleged Vincent Diamond once drove from Tampa to Anchorage, Alaska in the days before the Alcan Highway was paved. (Hey, Vincent was young and there was this hunky Army lieutenant—nothing more need to be said.) Diamond gleefully buys smutty periodicals for “research materials” and lists them on a Schedule C every year. The IRS has yet to question this deduction. www.vincentdiamond.com



  E-mail this page


Search ERWA Website:

Copyright © 1996 and on, Erotica Readers Association, Inc.
All Rights Reserved World Wide. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or
medium without express written permission is prohibited.

'10 Book Reviews

Anthologies

Apocalypse Sex
Review by Ashley Lister

Bare Souls
Review by Ashley Lister

Best Women's Erotica 2010
Review by Jean Roberta

can’t help the way that i feel
Review by Ashley Lister

Coming Together...C. Sanchez-Garcia
Review by Ashley Lister

Coming Together...M Christian
Review by Kathleen Bradean

Coming Together...Remittance Girl
Review by Kathleen Bradean

Erotic Brits
Review by Lisabet Sarai

Fairy Tale Lust
Review by Lisabet Sarai

Like a God's Kiss
Review by Kristina Wright

Like a Sacred Desire
Review by Lisabet Sarai

Like a Veil
Review by Lisabet Sarai

Making the Hook-Up
Review by Ashley Lister

Orgasmic
Review by Kristina Wright

Peep Show
Review by Kristina Wright

Please, Ma'am
Review by Ashley Lister

Spark My Moment
Review by Ashley Lister

Three In One Blow
Review by Shanna Germain

Unleashed
Review by Ashley Lister

Erotic Novels

Backstage Passes
Review by Kathleen Bradean

Dommemoir
Review by Ashley Lister

Fire in the Blood
Review by Jean Roberta

Freak Parade
Review by Jean Roberta

I Came Up Stairs
Review by Jean Roberta

Marianne! A Journey...
Review by Lisabet Sarai

The Marketplace
Review by Lisabet Sarai

The Memorial Garden
Review by Lisabet Sarai

On Demand
Review by Ashley Lister

Once Bitten
Review by Shanna Germain

Rock My Socks Off
Review by Ashley Lister

The Tower and the Tears
Review by Lynne Connolly

Sensual Romance

Coin Operated
Review by Lynne Connolly

Control
Review by Lynne Connolly

I Spy a Wicked Sin
Review by Harriet Klausner

Libertine's Kiss
Review by Lynne Connolly

The Master & the Muses
Review by Lynne Connolly

Naked
Review by Lynne Connolly

Rampant
Review by Lynne Connolly

Sinful
Review by Lynne Connolly

Tangled Web (MM Romance)
Review by Vincent Diamond

Tucker's Sin
Review by Lynne Connolly

Victor
Review by Harriet Klausner

Gay Erotica

Best Gay Erotica '10
Review by Vincent Diamond

Best Gay Romance 2010
Review by Vincent Diamond

Biker Boys
Review by Jay Lygon

Necessary Madness
Review by Kathleen Bradean

Personal Demons
Review by Lisabet Sarai

The Royal Treatment
Review by Kathleen Bradean

Silver Foxes
Review by Vincent Diamond

Sodomy!
Review by Jay Lygon

Special Forces
Review by Vincent Diamond

A Sticky End
Review by Jean Roberta

Wired Hard 4
Review by Lisabet Sarai

Lesbian Erotica

Best Lesbian Roamnce 2010
Review by Jean Roberta

Fast Girls
Review by Ashley Lister

Girl Crush
Review by Jean Roberta

Sometimes She Lets Me
Review by Jean Roberta

Non-Fiction

Best Sex Writing 2010
Review by Ashley Lister

A Brief History of Nakedness
Review by Rob Hardy

Condom Nation
Review by Rob Hardy

Dictionary of Semenyms
Review by Donna G Storey

Doctor of Love
Review by Rob Hardy

Florida’s Purge of Gay & Lesbian...
Review by Rob Hardy

John Holmes
Review by Rob Hardy

How Sex Works
Review by Rob Hardy

The Orgasm Answer Guide
Review by Rob Hardy

Screening Sex
Review by Rob Hardy

Sex at Dawn
Review by Rob Hardy

Whip Smart
Review by Rob Hardy