How Wearing a Tutu Was a Business Decision by Julie
TODAY’S BREW: Chestnut Praline Latte. (It has replaced the Peppermint Mocha for me. Also, I’m just drinking my crappy home coffee.)
The Undead Duo had our first book signing TOGETHER this weekend at Penny Watson’s Holiday Book Bash. It was also a Christmas party, so there were gorgeous alcoholic drinks AND NO I WAS NOT THE FIRST ONE TO BUY ONE but maybe the second.
But this was a business event. Forty authors, lots of publicity around Boston for it.
And I, Julie Hutchings, knew ahead of time I would be out of my element. Here’s why:
- I knew two people there. Everyone else knew each other.
- It was a romance writers’ party. I don’t typically read romance, I don’t write it, and forgive me for saying so, but I don’t come across as one either.
- Everyone there would have a half dozen books published and know self publishing from the inside out. I have two out, the rest working their way through traditional publishing and small press.
Kristen has told me some of what to expect at a Romance Writers of America function, and I knew it wasn’t necessarily my crowd. But that has never stopped me. In a crowd that size with names more known than mine, a person could easily fade into the background.
Operation: Stand Out Like A Sore Thumb
Trying to fit in doesn’t work for me. Never has and I don’t want it to be something I ever do. Being as ME as possible is what works for me.
How to Be Julie For Business:
- I bought a goddamn tutu for this event. Go big or go home. THIS IS IT (lovely lady pictured not me):
It was my intention to walk in there and have all eyes on me. No shyness allowed.
- We took the first table, right next to the food, across from the bar.
- When Penny’s microphone died, I stepped up in front of the room full of strangers and said in my voice which is WOW, “PENNY IS DOING A GIVEAWAY NOW.” Then I announced the names for the giveaway with her.
- I showed up with party favors. If my book wasn’t the thing sought after that day, I was going to make them remember it. So I thought of the thing that makes my book stand out to EVERYONE which is the strong scent theme. (The Shinigami vampire scent is tailored to appeal to specific people.) I made tiny stockings with a malted milkball and French Vanilla marshmallow “shooter,” a candy cane Hershey kiss, a Christmas cookie tea light with a sticker on the bottom that has a quote from Running Away on it, and a peppermint tea bag with a bookmark and all my links attached. “This tastes and smells like Running Home reads,” I said and handed them out to everybody. I didn’t wait for people to come to me, I went to them.
- I STOOD UP. I didn’t sit behind our table full of books and stuff. I stood up and spoke to people. I did it first. I said, “Hi, I’m Julie,” and shook hands with a big smile on my face. (Sidenote: The next sentence out of everyone’s mouths was “Your tutu is amazing” or something close to. Easy conversation starter.)
- When talking about going through a small press, I was loud and proud about having been the only woman published through Books of the Dead Press that summer, and still only in the company of a handful. It makes me different, special, and I’m proud of it. (There’s no such thing as a man’s world, baby.)
You know what? My plan worked. I sold books, gained some new followers, made friends, learned a bunch. I owned the crowd the only way I know how.
Writing a book is hard, publishing a book is harder, selling it is hardest. So sell what makes it unlike anything else out there: YOU. This works in all walks of life. Find the thing that makes you like nobody else in the world, and the thing that makes your product that way, and make the world know it. Be proud. Be you.