Whew. What a day. Now, before I really get started, I wanted to inform you dear readers on exactly what this posting is about. Well, as the title already pretty much gives it away, this will be about promoting Torn Lace out in the public, and my thoughts and success of this experience. Because I did have what I thought was a good way of going about this. And what is this “brilliant” tactic that I speak of? Simply, ordering a butt load of custom made business cards via third party, then going out to select book stores with the aim of engaging fellow readers or authors on my work. And like my work, I wanted a different way of going about things then the usual internet promotion which seems of late as stale as that type of canned laughter you would hear from a bad sitcom.
So after work, I changed clothes, put on my sports coat, got the business cards, and went out into the strange, and sometimes scary world on the other side of the Bay, otherwise known as San Francisco. The ride over had its usual eclectic riders from all stations of life; the well to do, the homeless, the ghetto, and so forth. Reaching the end of my BART ride, I got off at 16th and Mission, then made my way over to one of my stops.
Entering, I checked out the readers to get a feel of what mood they’re in, what genre they were browsing, and so forth before I made my approach. The first potential reader turned out to be someone who was published by an actual publisher in contrast to my self-published route. “Well, I just recently submitted my work through different channels like smashwords and-” “Oh, I’m a published author myself.” As I started to feel the muscles in my left hand fumble, then drop my card back into its lonely abode. Well, the conversation wasn’t exactly like that, but you get the idea. In the end, she was nice enough to accept the card and (maybe) check out Torn Lace.
Gathering my almost year long experience as a Pet Detective/Sales guy, I approached this other woman with a bit more confidence than before. In a way, I’m kinda proud of myself, as dealing with my diagnosed social anxiety disorder that has crippled my social and professional life is quite difficult to overcome in any type of setting. So, flubbing as badly as I do verbally with my current job, I managed to hand out another business card by promising that “OMG! This story is the strangest damn thing you will EVER read. That’s why I self published. Not because I lack the raw talent to attract the notice of mainstream publishers…………….of course.” The conversation went kinda like that as well………………….of course. Anyways, it was great to hear at least two people receptive to my approach. There weren’t that many customers left in the store who weren’t already just reading, so I left.
The other two bookstores I visited didn’t pan out so well, but honestly, I was hesitant to do any cold type approaches in such claustrophobic settings with fellow readers who looked very, very serious. So maybe that’s my own fault by being too cautious. I dunno. Maybe it’s because I still have this casual, Barnes & Noble idea of a bookstore that has classical music or jazz piped in from somewhere and people drolling on and on about nothing, that I think it applies to every one. So I just feel guilty for disturbing people just browsing books where they can overhear my entire conversation with others. And as I’ve learned so far with my current employer, there is a fine line between having good relations with the store you are demo-ing in, and completely pissing them off. I definitely do not want to piss off the bookstore where I do my approaches. The ride back to my home pad left me contemplating a lot of things.
So what now? Well, honestly…………….I can see the positive…………and can feel the negative. The positive so far, seems that approaching fellow readers is a good thing in a certain type of social environment, but maybe not so well when all they want is to just browse and maybe find a good book for the night. So with that in mind, when I next try my approach in a bookstore, I will probably visit when they have more social gatherings like book signings or readings. Something where breaking that taboo silence is not really frowned upon for that duration. I’ll let you all know my other mis-adventures in my different approaches later on. I think I’ll try the same tactics when I go back to my local community college this Monday.