I've been doing events with Evolution Revolution: Simple Machines. I've learned through my previous books it's not enough to say, "Here's my book, won't you buy it?" That's a hard sell and a lot of authors like myself are uncomfortable pushing for sales, even though it's absolutely necessary for midlist authors.
I can do that when I have to, but I have a different, nicer approach. I put people in my book.
At the Collingswood Book Festival, to appeal to kids, when I opened a copy, I turned to page 84. This is the illustration:
It's Collin, the main human character. Kids love seeing themselves in stories. Or, imagining themselves as the characters. Nothing says that like an illustration; it's visual and instant.
Some kids (and parents) are harder to convince. Maybe it's a girl who doesn't see herself as the character because mine is a boy. I tell her a little bit about the story. Maybe she squeals, "I love animals!" So I flip to this page:
(A lot of kids love construction machines!) If I sense a child has a sense of humor, I can show them this one:
I use the illustrations any way I can to pull them into the story. To make them want the story. And when they're interested but maybe wavering (or the parent is undecided) I'll hint at a surprise ending, and show them this one:
The point is to use your illustrations to convince them, but don't show them every one (if they see the whole book, what's left to discover?). Leave something for them to discover. By showcasing a specific aspect, that draws the child in. Talk to the kids, versus trying to sell to the parents. (Hint: while the kids are thumbing through a copy, which I highly encourage because most times once they have the book in their hands, they don't want to let go, I talk with the parents, pointing out that it has science (based on school curriculum) and adventure that draws in reluctant readers. Point out something to the adult that makes the book worthy of its price, that it's not a frivolous purchase.
For the really difficult customer, if you have a funny story relating to the pictures, or the book, share it. Don't be a sales machine, be a story teller- with pictures!
I'm off to peruse the pictures for Evolution Revolution: Simple Plans. Maybe I'll share a little peek soon...