This post is by Nancy Jardine.
Some readers may already know that I take my stock of novels and do signing/ selling sessions at local Craft Fair Venues. I really enjoy these events but have to say I never quite know what questions might be asked of me.
Last Saturday was a really good one. The event was one of the large pre-Christmas Fairs in the city of Aberdeen, Scotland, with over a hundred quality crafters displaying their wares. I say quality because anyone trying to sell goods that are outsourced ready-made, and not home crafted, are not given table space.
So there I was answering all sorts of easy things before making sales of my books. What made me become an author? What inspired a particular story? Which was my first novel? …. I had some return customers who stopped to buy another book which, I can wholeheartedly say, really boosts this particular author’s spirits. But I also had some humdingers of questions!
One very well-turned-out lady lingered over a read of my ‘information’ boards describing the settings of my novels. She briefly responded to my initial greetings but said “it was fine” when I offered to explain the books- meaning no thank you. Then she proceeded to lift and lay the inspection copies I have available at the front of the table, slowly absorbing the blurbs, flicking through the first pages.
(n.b. photo is from the previous venue. I used a less crushed tablecloth last week!)
Other customers came and went and she was still there. Silently reading and quite absorbed. A spy of some sort came to mind but that was the fanciful author in me rearing its ugly head! Mmm… It was a new experience for me. I can’t quite bring myself to be an aggressive salesperson, so I waited. Then came the DUMFOONERT bit.
Eventually, she said, “Why don’t you just write in one genre? It has to be much easier to sell books that way.”
Ah! As a salesperson I never want to offend a potential customer, especially one who seems a little unreceptive to my wares. However, I’m always as honest as I can be, so I told her that any kind of marketing of novels is difficult and that it definitely would be an easier task to be ‘branded’ as a particular genre author—but I said that I don’t always take the easy way out. I told her that as a reader I enjoy books written across many different genres and that as a writer, I like the variety of creating stories across different genres. I went on to say that although I feel I’m primarily an author of historical adventures, I’ve loved the freedom of writing contemporary mysteries because I don’t have to think so much about the conventions of the historical era.
She mostly listened to my spiel though asked the occasional easy question. Then, having picked up the 3 pack version of my Celtic Fervour Series she asked, “Why did you choose to write about a historical period so long ago?”
“That’s a great question!” I said grinning like a Cheshire Cat. I wasn’t dumbfounded at all. My list was quite long.
- Because it’s a hard era to write about
- Because it’s a pre-historic period that has very few written sources to research so I have to work all the harder to interpret the archaeological records
- Because I didn’t want to write about an era that lots of other authors have covered already
- Because I love to learn about Roman Scotland history and archaeology
- “In fact,” I said, “I’m doing the FutureLearn Hadrian’s Wall Course with Newcastle University right now because I want to know even more. (By the way I’m glad I’m squeezing the course into my already busy schedule because it’s proving useful already!)
I had a lot of positive becauses.
I was again DUMFOONERT when she smiled and said, handing over the money for the books, “You’ve convinced me! I want all three books. I wanted to be sure you know what you’re writing about and it’s not just crappy romantic drivel that’s half-hearted history.”
Did I have an answer for that? I’ll let you decide…
I do hope she’s a happy reader, except I’m not even sure if she was buying the gift pack for herself or for someone else.
Whatever you’re doing this November, have a lovely time!
Nancy Jardine writes in 3 different genres (smiley face here) – historical romantic adventure; contemporary romantic mystery; time travel historical adventure for early teens.
Nancy is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association and the Scottish Association of Writers. You can find her at these places:
email: firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter @nansjar
Amazon Author page http://viewauthor.at/mybooksandnewspagehere