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Marketing at the Mechanic’s

Not so long ago when I was in college for accounting, I decided I’d like to sell real estate on the side. I live in a state that claims to have one of the most difficult tests for getting a license, however, I was extremely pleased with myself when on the first try I passed.

That’s when the hard part began.

My first day of training I was told, “You’re not a realtor. You’re not a real estate agent. You’re a marketer whose interest is in real estate. Don’t sit down at night memorizing the contracts word for word and making sure you always know the answer. There’ll always be someone else you can ask who knows the answer if you don’t. Your main goal now, and throughout your career, is to first market yourself, and second to market the house you’re selling.”

Truer words I’d never heard (even though at the time I didn’t completely believe them).

The same can be applied for selling books (eBooks and paperbacks). Perhaps at first the author’s name is not going to sell a book, but eventually, if proven to be a tried and true author, it will. However, marketing a book is equally as important as writing and editing one. Some books will sell just because they’re there, but most won’t. Sad, but true.

Whether with a large publishing house that does paper and digital or a one-man digital publishing house, the author is more often than not the one who does most of the marketing.  Keeping this in mind, the author has to jump on opportunities when they’re presented. Such as at the mechanics.

Four times since 2011 started I’ve found myself in the same mechanic’s waiting room. I hate to waste time, so I always drag along the current manuscript I’m editing, or if I’m not editing one, I’ll bring in my laptop and write.

Earlier this week, I brought my laptop with me while I waited and plugged it in. When I got there it was just me, but about thirty minutes later four men had joined me and were watching the TV. During one of the commercials, one of the men turned to me and asked, “What are you doing over there, writing a book?”

“I sure am. Would you care to read it?” I asked with the biggest smile I could stretch my lips into.

All three of the other men turned in my direction.

“Are  you really?” one asked.

I nodded. “Yes. And I’m to the good part, too.”

They all chuckled and for the next fifteen minutes, I was peppered with questions about the book I was writing (which just so happened to be a historical romance) and what it’s like to write such a long book, blah, blah, blah.

I thought that was the end, until I went to leave and three of the four asked where to get a copy. Of course the one I was writing won’t be out for a while (a long while), but wrote down the title of my current book and where to find it. Whether their wives bought it or not, I’ll never really know.

The point is, even for digital books, the marketing doesn’t stop at the Internet or with close friends. You never know when an opportunity will present itself. Granted, I didn’t purposely create the opportunity, but relying on all that real estate marketing training I had, I took advantage of the opportunity and might have sold a few more books because of it. You never know!

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