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How does this relate to books? Walking through the bookstore is information overload. I'm sure a vast majority of the books there would be a good read, but I don't have the money or the time. I have to pick. Usually I do this based on my friends' and book club recommendations, but sometimes I stray from that because I've seen an interesting article or interview on an author.
Branding. My mother and I are the "faces" of our brand, Depression Cookies. We can't even rely on the occasional impulse buy in a bookstore, because we aren't prominently featured in the big chains. We need people to think we are interesting enough to buy our book. Selling yourself is hard. Mom and I are passionate about our book, but it goes beyond that. People want to see you, genuine and willing to share.
I recently attended my first book festival. I love people, and can talk all day (well, when I have a voice). Much to my husband's dismay, I am enamored with people's stories, motivations, and passions. When Haley Tanner stopped by my booth with her mother, I was enchanted. They were so sweet together and loved chatting about the mother-daughter bond. I glanced up to see Haley wearing a "Featured Author" name tag. When I asked her about it, she said she was there to talk about her book. Her mom then, as moms do, beamed with pride and told me a bit more.
This experience taught me a lot about branding. You have to put yourself out there. I think a blog and participating in social media sites are a good start, but nothing takes the place of personal interaction. The best part of attending festivals, conferences, book clubs, and local events is socializing. Not only is it an opportunity to learn, it's an opportunity to give. And market.
Have you ever met someone (online or in person) who impressed you so much you went home and googled them to find out more?