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  • Writer's pictureMichael Parker

My engaging selling technique

The good news from the previous seven days is that the follow-on effect from my BookBub promotion is still working: I have achieved 25% ROI at the moment, and I’m still selling books. Now the really difficult bit starts: how to keep the balls in the air. My Amazon ad. was a disaster, and now I’m hoping I can achieve better results with my latest Facebook advert. It’s too soon to make an appraisal, but early results show I might need to put my learning cap on and start tweaking. I’ll let the weekend through before trying anything.

Today I was at Arundel for the Festival. Our Chindi group ( have book stall there in support of Cancer_UK. I arrived early and helped Carol Thomas and her husband, Mason, set up the table (in the road), and waited for the punters to roll up. I managed to sell five books before finishing at mid-day. Quite a result for me: it really put a smile on my face. I enjoyed talking with the people who came up to the stall, even the elderly lady who passed by pushing her walker with a few sticks of rhubarb sticking out of her shopping bag. It made for an interesting conversation on how cheap the rhubarb was just up the road. And no, she didn’t want to buy any books.

I was asked what the “mark-up” is for our books. I explained to the man who asked the question that we make nothing from paperback books because we are self-published authors. We would have to set up table top sales every day of the year and hope to sell a few books every day to cover our costs. But the important point is the engagement we have with the public, getting our name into their minds and hoping — hoping — that they look us up on our respective websites and buy our ebooks.

I had two copies of my hard edged romance, Past Imperfect, with me, and managed to sell them. My sales skills can be unbelievable at times. I just wish I knew what I said that made these lovely people buy them.

We also meet other writers who tend to be very shy in admitting they are writers too. Once we’ve dragged the truth out of them they are quite happy to talk about their work. It isn’t unusual to learn that they have written one book and are quite happy with that. One lady I spoke to had written an autobiography of her short, three month spell working in a Palestinian refugee camp. The conversation looked like it might be heading towards a political narrative, so I steered away from the subject and talked about the various books we had on display. If any of you are interested, her name is Alice Merrill and her book is called Quiet Resistance. It’s available on Amazon.

And almost as trustworthy as a reliable clock, the British weather let us know it was not to be laughed at. It chucked it down for about ten minutes. It cleared the streets and made us throw a protective sheet over our books. Eventually the table was pulled in off the street and into the shelter available in front of the Cancer charity shop we are supporting.

Now I need to think about writing again and steering my main character, Conor Lenihan, into trouble with the Israelis and anybody else who dare steps in his way. He’s pretty tough, you know. Wish me luck!

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