I like lists. I like making lists, and categorizing. As an independent author in retirement, I’ve done many book signings, at many different kinds of venues : large chain bookstores (the Indigo family here in Canada), independent bookstores (like those in my own town of Aylmer, Quebec), fairs and showcases where I may have to (or not) rent a table.
But this blog post is not about the types of venues where I’ve sold books – it’s about the types of buyers I encounter at book sales. Yes, I’ve categorized and made a list of the kinds of people that buy my book, Camp Follower One Army Brat’s Story. Here it is.
First, people do buy my book. I’ve blogged about this before, but yes, after all costs of self-publishing, including buying a new laptop and paying for a writer’s retreat, I’m in the black with overall sales. Who is my target audience? People of all ages. I’ve sold to old, young, women, men, even children as young as 9 (with parental permission, as my book contains, as my mother-in-law noticed, “that” word.)
Given that broad category of “anyone”, what else have I noticed about the people who buy from me at book signings?
After “people”, there are 2 types of buyers : those who buy to be supportive and others.
The supportive buyer is excited just to meet an author and loves the story of self-publishing. They may or may not read my book, and don’t care what it’s about. (I myself have been in this category with fellow writers.)
The others are of many types and many cross-types.
There are those who read and those who don’t.
Of the non-readers, there are 2 types : those who buy to be supportive, and those who buy for a gift.
Of the readers, there are 2 types. Based on the sub-title alone, “One Army Brat’s Story”, my buyers are usually either military brats themselves or know someone who is, or they are “civvies”, those with no attachment to the military. You’d assume that I sell more to military-type communities, but that is not true – I sell more to “civvies”. They are genuinely curious and want to read about the unique lifestyle the book details.
Of the military-type buyers, there are 3 types:
- those fellow “brats” who are eager to relive their own story
- those who were in the military and want to hear from the non-military family perspective. These kinds are some of my favourite, like my own father, as they are usually surprised to hear about how their own kids or spouses dealt with their military lifestyle.
- those who don’t have fond memories of their military family experience and want no reminders. Technically, I shouldn’t have included them in my list because they rarely buy my book. I mention them because they will often talk with me for quite a long time sharing stories before finally saying, “No thanks, been there, got the T-shirt”
All to say, I love the people-categorizing I engage in at my book sales and signings. It’s thrilling to make a sale, and even more thrilling to meet readers who have already read my book and want to discuss it. It’s fun to be wrong (lesson : don’t assume your categorizing is correct!), and it’s fun to meet so many kinds of people.
I look forward to getting my next book out soon, as I’m curious if my audience will be the same or different. Hope you keep following – as much as I enjoy meeting live people, my social media audience is just as important to me! Thanks to you all.