Best way to build your audience

The continuing quest for new readers is at times very tiring. It’s no easy feat to convince hordes of strangers to invest time (and a little bit of money) in your writing. But you have to do it,  because writers need audiences.

Oh sure, storytelling is a self-fulfilling pursuit to an extent. So is daybecauesdreaming. If internal satisfaction was enough, then most books would stay unwritten, floating in their author’s head in a nebulous cloud of possibility. Committing those ideas to concrete form on paper is driven by a need to share that story.

So, with a song in my heart and some promotional material in my hand, I set up a table at our local Comicon (Forest City Comicon) and gently hawked my wares to the attendees. Some people stopped to chat, many smiled nervously and walked on, and a bunch took a promotional bookmark that me and my tablemate foisted upon them. (Here’s what the fancy bookmark looked like)

Bookmark

But there was one interaction in particular that made the day worthwhile. I was sitting at the table munching away at a mediocre hot dog in a very stale bun when a young girl, probably around 9 years old, came up to the table with her little sister in tow. The older girl was in a Sailor Jupiter costume and had a very serious and earnest look on her face. She locked eyes with me in a feat of rare bravery for someone so small and said “your book sounds interesting and I think I might like it,. Can you tell me more about it please?”

My dad instincts wanted me to hug her and praise her for being so brave and well spoken, but I wisely chose not to hug the tiny stranger across the table. Instead I gave her a quick summary of the books. It was an interesting challenge to condense my normal rambling explanation into something a child could absorb on the spot, even a bright child like the girl in front of me. She listened closely with her attention unbroken throughout the whole exchange, and when I finished, she thanked me and walked off with her sister. Less than 5 minutes later, she returned with the rest of her family. Her dad asked her “are you sure that this is what you want?” and she nodded fiercely. Dad handed over the last of her allowance and she promptly handed it to me to buy her own copy of WitchKids.

And that was the best sale I have ever made. Thanks, Sailor Jupiter.

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One thought on “Best way to build your audience

  1. “Elevator pitch.” You’ve heard that phrase to death by now. Maybe better defined as, “Nine year old girl pitch” in your circumstances. Can you sell your book(s) in 30 seconds? Or at least sell enough interest in your books to make a nine-year-old (and parents with the money) stop and have a look?

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