Tuesday, February 19, 2013

How to Stand Out From the Crowd

I was one of 40 authors at a recent library, book-signing event. The organizers also allowed you to sell your books. However, in this environment, you needed to stand out from the crowd. How do you do that?
By being different, of course, and this includes wearing something which draws attention (now do not think naughty here). I wore a wedding-dress costume, a blue, large-brimmed hat and white boots, pictured above. People stopped at my table because of the outfit made by a longtime, high-school friend. She did an awesome job with many trials confronting her. I am extremely grateful and thank God for such a beautiful friend.
Why did I dress this way? Because the first two chapters in my five-star, inspiring-historical romance, Lockets and Lanterns, is the wedding scene of the marriage of Red to Edith. The plot is his secret ... her broken heart. Red keeps a secret from his wife which keeps the pages turning. 
But even with a well-written and intriguing story, somehow you have to stand out and wearing costumes helps. Another author dressed in mob attire since his book dealt with that. 
One way to grab attention is to decorate your table with out-of-the-ordinary material, such as using a rod-iron recipe stand in which to hold copies of my novel. I picked it up at a hobby store. In addition, it has a practical value of being able to weather harsh winds during outside events.
Remember to not just sit there but also get up and engage the potential customers. Make sure you tell them your books also are available on Nook and Kindle. In this day and age, this is important. One man took a picture of my book so he could tell his wife and she could order it on Kindle.
A Harlequin, best-selling author brought a flyer. On it, she listed some of her  romance books available on Kindle and Nook and her upcoming non-fiction release on writing. These are valuable tools in standing out from the crowd. 
Bringing candies and cookies can bring people to your table; however, my experience has not been good with this approach. I did this early on since one of my stories in my Best of Year book, Seasons of the Soul, is titled, “Grandma’s Cookies.” Thus, I made chocolate-chip cookies as Grandma Blessing did in my story. Oh, I got visitors, such as children, but this often depleted my cookies without getting buyers. So think about your table and whether your gimmick will work. If, though, your purpose is for you and others to just enjoy the goodies, then go for it. It never hurts to indulge and keep yourself and others in good spirits.
Watch what other authors do and learn from them. One author had a book review of her novel and gave it to potential buyers. It helped her sell it. I did that with my first book but because of limited table space have not done this with my romance. You cannot put too much on a table or it will look cluttered. Remember a person scans your table, and you only have a few seconds to catch their attention.
Additionally, shake things up a bit. Do different types of giveaways. Think outside of the box. Work on a grand-prize giveaway where you give something special and your books. 
Well, I think I have stated enough for today. Have a great day and remember to think unique - it reaps benefits. God bless. 


  1. Hi Janet!

    We met at the Author Fair; I took your photos on behalf of Omaha Public Library.

    You were incredibly successful in your quest to "stand out.” From the costume to your beautiful table, and to your approachable demeanor, I’d say you were very noticeable.

    Thank you for participating in the event! We hope to see you next year. And you're right; promoting your works in eBook form is more important than ever.

    Erin O'Brien
    Omaha Public Library

  2. Thanks for the insight Janet. When I was young, I did everything I could to stand out in a crowd. However, as I grow older, I seem to blend in with the masses. Maybe, if I'm ever able to take part in such an event, I'll put on the old cowboy hat.

  3. I enjoyed the Omaha Public Library main library event. Thank you for the kind words and Jim you always stand out from the crowd. Your creative juices are awesome! God bless.