Sunday, November 1, 2015

Retail Book Sales and Signings

Retail Book Sales

C.A. Jamison

I’ve sold everything from ice-cream out of a truck to thousands of dollars’ worth of electronics and home appliances. With over twenty years of success. My family owned business supports thirteen families and contributes each year to nonprofit organizations who help feed my local community. But how can my sales advice help you when the internet is the main playing field for books?

First —I don’t have a claim to internet success. Many people have far more knowledge than I do on that subject. But the internet is not the only place you should familiarize yourself on how to sell your books, and make a name in the writing industry. Book signings and retail may be old school, but there is still an art to making that type of sale. I made over 300.00 at the first two signings and I only have one novel and one short story. No matter what your product, there is a science to vender distribution.

Start with the presentation.

  1. Dress appropriate!  Dress up—never down. You are representing your hard work and your publisher. If you hold out a book with your cleavage hanging out, or a dull shirt with a football team that your customer doesn’t like, you stand little chance at making a good impression with a potential shopper.
  2. Table covers with a banner or sign logo. Print your writing name in bold letters. You’re not just selling a book, you're selling your name as an author.
  3. Picture frame holders that sit on a table can display your books nicely.
  4. Eye catchers if possible. Example, there is a storming Orb in my novel, and if electricity is available at my stand, I plug in my electric globe. Western writers could come up with any number of props or perhaps a giveaway.
  5.  Have bookmarkers or cards with the Amazon or B&N logo printed along with your book title.  --Let’s face it. Not every customer will make it to the cash register, but these will help them to remember your books, if you have done your job and made a friend.

In making a sale there are three words to remember – GreetQualify—and Close.

Greet-- Everyone knows you need a pitch for your book. But before you can deliver, you have to make eye contact. Bring the customer to your product.

Greet don’ts -- Never be the car salesman.

How can I help you today?

Need a book, come here, see what I’ve got!

No one says you have to stand behind your table. Sometimes it better to stand in front of your merchandise, but don’t flag a person and start with a pitch—even if they are looking over your books.

If you start by acting the desperate salesman, people are bound to move away.

Greeting Do’s – Find common ground if possible. Be the person, your customer, wants to talk to.

Start conversations with anything from the weather to their stunning hair style. Always smile. Good cheer spreads like sunshine. Maybe you see a person who is strolling past and only glances your way. They came to the bookstore to buy a Christmas book for Uncle Eddie’s son or depending on where you’re selling, they’re on their way to the booth that sales fudge. Let’s be real—you can’t reach out and grab the person’s arm, but always be cheerful and try to make eye contact. Say something about them that actually stands out. Maybe they’re holding a cute baby.  Or wearing a shirt with a cheeseburger on the front. Ask them about it.

One example, “Those boots are awesome! Where did you buy them?

People like to talk about themselves. Be creative. You’re a writer. You should be one of the most inventive people in town. I know some of you are shy. Just know aggressiveness gets easier as you begin to have fun and enjoy the process.

My little secret. I actually picture the money it takes to buy my book floating above that person's head. Maybe it sounds bold and silly, but I tend to smile at dollar bills flying above the customer’s scalp. My job is to capture the cash, and most of all, have this person remember me as an author.

In my example, the customer has told me about her boots and complains about how they rub her feet. Everyone can relate. Bring your books into the conversation.

“Today I’m wearing comfortable shoes because I knew I would be standing a while. I have a pair shoes that hurt my feet too. Had to buy some band aids.” Laugh with your customer.  Ask their name. Introduce yourself as an author.  “I’m author C.A. Jamison. What’s your name?” Start a friendship and remember to use their name as you speak.

Boom. Ready for the Qualify.  

Now the customer is standing next to your merchandise. Get a good picture of who it is you’re selling to before you pitch your book. You can ask any number of questions. This one gets right to the point. “Do you like to read?”

Hopefully, you will get a yes. “What’s your favorite book?” Maybe you will get the dreaded- No. Never stop smiling and don’t give up. Make it conversational—never pushy. No one likes a pushy salesman. Qualifying is to ask questions. What about them has something to do with the book your selling?

I might say, “I understand. My sister-in -law likes to read, but my brother never has the time to. With Christmas coming up, I have ordered my sister six books already. Do you have a big family?” Never lie or get so excited that you interrupt your potential buyer. RUDNESS makes for short conversation. Listen and learn.

Customer Sally.—“Yes. Two brothers and three sisters. My sister, Becky likes to read.” Now you have gone from a flat –No- I don’t like to read, to a possible, Holiday or Birthday sale.

Writers are creative. Again ask questions. Find common ground, make a friend.  Example--“There are girls in my story who become sisters and are complete opposites. I bet Becky would enjoy my novel, Polarity. A signed copy by a local author makes for a great Christmas gift.” Now is a good time to put the novel in the customer’s hand and give your pitch. Make it exciting!  But not long. If you spend too much time explaining every aspect in your book, a customer may become anxious, not to mention another potential customer may walk by unnoticed.

Always remember to speak above the crowd. If the person you are talking with is listening then the man standing behind her, looking at a bin filled with books, may also be listening. People have a natural curiosity to what your excited tone is all about.
At my last signing, a man stood close enough to hear the little summary I gave to a young lady —Polarity, Children of the Orb. I explained how methane gas lit the air and caused an explosion in a mine shaft. The eavesdropping customer had worked in a coal mine most of his life and approached the table. Sold two books with one pitch. 

Which reminds me. If you’re not excited about your work, why should your customer be? We all know that writing a novel or story is one of the most challenging things you’ve ever done. Have faith in your work.  I’ve seen authors who actually shake their heads while I ask what they have written. They have lost faith in their accomplishment. Never, ever, do that. Always hold your head up and remember, in every book you write, there is something that can be enjoyed by someone else.

The Close. This is the most important part of the sale. Once I was next to a writer, who had three times as many books as me sitting neatly in front of her, yet I sold three times as many books.

She did fairly well with Greet, not bad with Qualify, but failed miserably with the Close. Your book should be in the customer’s hand, if not, put it there.

 My example-“This is the book I am speaking of, Sally” Let them feel the texture, smell the pages, in the qualifying you should have found something about the story you have written that the customer or Sally’s sister could relate to or enjoy.Would you like me to sign that for you?” If you don’t ask for the sale, then why are you there? Another reminder of confidence. Your work needs to be read by the public. That’s why you wrote it. Don’t remove the book from their hand and place it back on the table—unsure of their decision. Remember the fifteen dollars floating above the customers head. ASK FOR THE SALE!  It’s a simple as, “Would you like to purchase a copy?”

Maybe they weren’t prepared to buy a book. There are plenty reasons a customer may not buy your product at that time. Believe me after twenty years of retail, I’ve heard them all. Never let a failed attempt bring you down. You have one last chance to make that sale. The Bookmark.  Put the free advertisement in the customer’s hand. –My Amazon sales after my last signing-- higher than it had been in months. The customer will be reminded of your pitch long after they have left your table or booth.      

Remember these three steps and carry your books and book markers with you as much as possible. You never know when you will meet that potential customer.
Greet—say hello in an uncommon manner.

Qualify—Ask questions. Don’t waste time selling pork to a vegetarian, but find what relates your story to the customer.
Close---Ask for the sale. What have you, the salesmen, got to lose?
The more you practice, the better you’ll become. For book signings available to you--Check your local guild and Barns and Noble. Also, check fundraisers in your community. Share the space and expense with author friends and-- Sell Some Books!

50 Shades of Gray Sales Tax  -  Do I collet?
Well, It depends. Keep in mind I am not an accountant or with a tax agency--this advise is strictly at your own risk.
Any government tax collector will say, of course you collect and pay. But do you charge tax when you have a yard sale? When you set up a vegetable stand in your front yard? No. Have you already paid taxes when purchasing your books or do you use a wholesale number? This is where the grey comes in.

I asked a H&R block business preparer what she thought. Should I charge tax on book sales and pay the state?  Her reply was, If your going to purchase a book or two that's been taxed and resell them to your sister and cousin for near the same price, probably not. But if I market them on a regular basis, then I need to charge sales tax and pay tax.  She advised me to apply for a tax number as a Sole Proprietor.  As you don't need to be a corporation to pay a little Sales Tax to the state.

I asked an accountant in a large firm the same question: Should I pay sales tax on the few books I sell at signings?   He didn't say no--but sort of laughed. My state collects 7% and he said, If you sell a 1000.00 dollars worth of books--- that's S70.00 in tax---and you have already paid a partial tax? I explained how Amazon and most of my book sales were taxed by the companies that sold them. They pay the sales tax.
He advised that if I were to treat my book sales as a retail job --I should collect sales tax, but there was not a floating number out there in the tax world that says, start collecting when you reach this many sales.
He did remind me that on my INCOME TAX  I should keep records of all purchases, expenses and sales of my book. These can be a benefit to your deductions.
Sell a couple books at signings --I think your okay.  Sell a lot of books--you should apply for a tax number. Keep in mind , for most, this simple payment can be made --once at the end of the year.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

#NewRelease--Twerp In Time: Missing! Lost City Of Gold by James and Livia Reasoner--#Giveaway!

The idea for Twerp in Time: Missing! Lost City Of Gold came about because our youngest daughter, who was in elementary school at the time, found studying history to be boring. We felt it was a shame there wasn’t a series like The Magic School Bus that would engage young readers with interesting stories and teach a little history at the same time.

James and I started writing this book but then had to set it aside for work and family. It was only recently we were able to pick it back up and finish the first manuscript. The end product really was a family affair. We researched and wrote the book and our daughter Joanna Reasoner—the one who didn't really like studying history and who is now an elementary school teacher herself—drew the cover design for this fun little middle reader book.

Dennis Fletcher has a problem...or two. He's extra-smart, and even though he's skipped a grade, he's still bigger than a lot of the older kids! Making friends is hard--and something he wants more than anything.

When he invites two of his classmates over to work on a group project, they suddenly find themselves in the middle of Coronado's Conquistadors--and Dennis's execution is slated only a few days away! How did they travel back in time to the 1500's? And how are they going to get back to their own time before Dennis meets his end?

The pouch of special powder around his neck contains the answers--if only he can figure out how to use it to save them all and get them home to Texas--500 years in the future!

James Reasoner is a New York Times bestselling author and his wife Livia is an multi-award winning author.

      Dennis's heart pounded in his chest. Or rather, the Turk's heart, because although the mind might belong to Dennis, the body was definitely that of someone else. In this case, the young Indian known as the Turk.
     He turned around to watch where he was going, but his feet moved automatically, trotting along so that he could keep up with the horses. His brain was occupied with trying to figure out what had happened. If it was possible for his mind to have been transported somehow back in time and into the body of the Turk, wasn't it just as possible that the same thing had happened to Rohana? After all, they had been standing right beside each other in the studio.
     And Wyatt had been there, too, Dennis recalled. And two of the Spanish soldiers had collapsed, with something seeming to be wrong with them. Nuñez and Alcazar, they were called. It was impossible, of course, but Dennis found himself wondering if Nuñez and Alcazar were really Rohana and Wyatt.
     That wasn't any more impossible, he told himself, than thinking that he was now the Turk. And he knew that to be true, insane though it might be.
     Well. This was pretty bad.
     Dennis kept trudging toward the small hills in the distance. He had to talk to Nuñez and Alcazar, had to find out if what he suspected was true. It had to be, because he'd heard one of them say his name, and these Conquistadors had lived almost five hundred years before he was born. Time travel was the only answer.
     Dennis was surprised that he didn't get too tired as he continued walking and running. He had hated PE class and gotten winded easily every time he tried to do too much exercise. But he was in a different body now, he reminded himself. The Turk was strong and could probably walk all day without feeling it too much. Dennis paused and lifted a foot to look at the bottom of it. He wore no shoes or sandals, but the sole of his foot was one big callus, strong and thick as leather. The muscles in his arms and legs were like bundles of heavy rope. He had never felt anything like this before. He took a deep breath, filling his lungs with air that was uncomfortably hot but also clean and dry.
     Weird. Definitely weird.

Be sure and leave us a comment to be entered in the giveaway of a ecopy of Twerp In Time: Missing! City Of Gold.

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Tuesday, July 14, 2015

#NewRelease--POLARITY: CHILDREN OF THE ORB by C. A. Jamison

There was only one person who could tell the entire story of Polarity and that was Rush James. A twenty five year old male. At first I wasn’t worried. My grandmother gave birth to nine boys. Uncles were coming out my ears. Practically all of my cousins are male. I was raised, the only girl, in a home with four males. I worked a retail sales floor with men. Later we purchased a car audio shop, also run by—you guessed it—the male species. With a son and husband at home, how could I not understand how a man thinks?  Ha! That turned out to be my biggest challenge.

The pillow shams were covered in velvet. Most men don’t care or notice what color a pillow sham is.  The couch had a couple pillows thrown on it. Well . . . that doesn’t sound very intelligent. See my point. Allowing a young-adult male to tell my story seemed awkward at times. Her smooth, graceful behind sat next to the sofa pillows. Yes. That’s the one, but staying in that frame of mind isn’t simple for a woman. And I, by no means, am saying that all men think sexually. But Rush does, and I began to have fun, keeping with his thoughts.

Rush says sweet things to Trulie. He’s not always the bad-boy. But reading the novel through his eyes—was a way to be different. With alien electric pulsing through his veins, you can tell, I’m all about, new and different. So put your wild-man hat on and enjoy some electric excitement, in Rush’s point of view.

Rush James and his brother, Chris, are “plasmetric” people—a unique life form born of human parents. Their blood cells are alive with alien  electronic energy—and living a normal life in the human world creates havoc for those of their kind.

But Rush and Chris aren’t alone—there are others. As their parents slowly die, the Children of the Orb must find one another to survive. Rush must share his life with the only woman in the world that can keep his blood cells charged.

Trulie Morgan is the positive to Rush’s negative. When they touch, polarity moves energy, their passion grows, and the battle of opposites begins. Trulie’s kind heart is naïve to the dangers that surround them, and Rush must learn to use her optimism and strength if he wants to claim victory, and love.

But the danger is very real for all of them--both from humans and from others of their kind. As they search for the answers they're desperate to find, someone is killing humans and animals. When an attempt is made on Trulie's life, Rush is determined to get to the bottom of it--even if it means it could be one of their own--one of the CHILDREN OF THE ORB.

Everyone watched as I stood up. I rubbed my palms together and popped a knuckle. I glared at Trulie’s outstretched fingers.

With gradual movement, I moved my hand toward hers. Inches above her palm, friction caused air to churn. A blue light appeared, and a force pulled at my hand like a powerful magnet.
I clamped down. The small flames in our grand fireplace ignited—a hot sizzling shock to the system. The lights above flashed. Hot waves of electrical current soared through my fingers. She was right. Energy moved, and there was only one way to describe it—undeniably irresistible.

I closed my eyes and leaned my head back. Yes. Blood soared up my arm and into my chest.
In her silence, Trulie’s body spoke to me through the sensation of touch. Pleasure.

I smoothed my hand across her soft palm and curled my fingers around her hand. Unbelievable. Electric traveled through my body like a rushing river. Energy filled my hollow veins with such strong blood flow—I thought my heart would falter.

A light bulb popped above us. Chris got out of his seat and stepped back.
I could not let go. The force moved deep within. A hot penetration of strength clung to a desperate desire for more. My circulation stirred with life renewed. The skin on my arms took on a healthy radiance. I wanted to drown in disbelief.

Lightning flashed in the big brown eyes that looked up at me. Her hair’s gray strands gleamed with a new dark color. Her skin turned golden-brown, and her cheeks blushed. I took a breath of satisfaction, for I could tell, I gave as much as I received.

Panic seized Trulie’s face. “I can’t pull away,” she cried. “Your eyes—they were light blue, and now they’re—I can’t believe it! I’m—I feel…balanced.”

Chris appeared between us and yanked our hands apart. “No way! This can’t be right. Trulie is mine.” But as he held her arm, no connection was made. No flickering lights. No energy movement, just the warm skin of a creature like himself. She looked at him with apologetic eyes.

He dropped her arm and faced me. “Why do you always find a way to screw things up?”

Be sure and leave a comment for C.A. Jamison to enter a drawing for a free copy of POLARITY: CHILDREN OF THE ORB.

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Tuesday, March 10, 2015

#NewRelease--MY DOG CAN DO MAGIC!--Giveaway!

Today we are giving away a free copy of MY DOG CAN DO MAGIC! so be sure to leave a comment to be entered in the drawing.

Have you ever known a dog that had his or her own certain  brand of magic?  Each story in this collection tells of a canine friend with a special gift.

Can a small, ferocious Chihuahua save the day for Tiger Morgan’s family? A HERO IN THE HOUSE is about a young boy’s new puppy who rescues the family from burglars!

Aspen is heartbroken when her father is killed in Afghanistan—but a dog appears that only she is able to see. CHEYENNE: SWEETHEART OF CHARLIE COMPANY is a story you won’t be able to put down.

Can dogs talk? They can in THE MAJESTIC REALM! Come on a fantastic journey to a land where animals—including Rylee's family dog, Harley—are able to speak to humans! But now, how are they going to get back home?

In BLACK DOG, WHITE DOG, a new addition to the family saves Feddie’s mom by discovering an illness she didn’t even know she had.

Working together to survive in the big city isn’t easy. RUFF AND THE BOY PUP is a story about the magic of friendship between a stray dog and his beloved new friend—a human boy!

If you love stories about dogs and the “magic” they sometimes are able to do, this is the book for you!

BUY LINKS         Barnes and Noble Nook        Smashwords


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

#New Release -- Li’l Tom and the Pussyfoot Detective Bureau: The Case of the Parrots Desaparecidos by Angela Crider Neary -- #Giveaway

Be sure and leave a comment for a chance to win a free ecopy of Angela Crider Neary's Li’l Tom and the Pussyfoot Detective Bureau: The Case of the Parrots Desaparecidos.


Someone is stealing the parrots of Telegraph Hill! San Francisco is plagued with a rash of exotic birdnappings, and it's up to Li'l Tom and Lola of the Pussyfoot Detective Bureau to track down the culprits and put an end to this sinister scheme. With the help of a motley crew of cats, one rat, and a dog, they'll venture into the dangerous back alleys of Chinatown to rescue the brilliantly plumaged captives!

LI'L TOM AND THE PUSSYFOOT DETECTIVE BUREAU: THE CASE OF THE PARROTS DESAPARECIDOS is a whimsical, all-ages mystery featuring a pair of charming feline detectives. Packed with action, humor, colorful characters, and vivid settings, it's a delightful reading experience for young and old!


     My name is Lil Tom. Yep, Lil Tom. I know it's not real macho, but I'm a kitten, and you know what kinda names we get - stuff like Mittens, Fluffy, Snowball, Mr. Meowums - you get the picture. Why can't we be named something regular, like James, Christopher, or Nelson? At least I have the Tom part. That's pretty normal. I just can't shake the opening “Lil.”
     Despite the embarrassing name, I've done pretty well for myself. I head up the elite Pussyfoot Detective Bureau of Telegraph Hill here in San Francisco. I also live on Telegraph Hill. Telegraphs a great place for cats to live a low profile life without much interference from the humans. There are plenty of places for us to take up residence without much notice, like under the myriad of wooden decks and staircases, or the overgrown gardens, flowing with blossoms almost year round. I, myself, am a drifter. I was shunned from my litter as the runt, so have been on my own ever since. But thats okay with me. Whenever I need refuge or a bite to eat, I use any one of the many doggie/kitty doors carved out and leading into the high-priced cottages on the hill. Theres usually a sociable human in these places who is willing to give you a friendly rub and a bite of tuna fish, or even a bowl of Tender Vittles if they happen to have them in stock. Oh, dont get me wrong, I have a home base with a human couple who think they “own” me, but I generally go my own way until I need a regular meal or a change of fur - and maybe a nap in the cozy kitty condo they have set up for me. I usually stay gone long enough for them to have given up on me and then I suddenly reappear, to their delight. Gotta keep ‘em on their toes.
     Now, although the humans are not much of a problem around here, dogs are a different story.