Emphasize “brief” when approaching new markets. Like a one-minute “elevator” speech that you use to introduce your work to serendipitous connections on an elevator, your portfolio should be easily accessible.
It should also contain material that you can bring out should a potential buyer want to see more. I think it’s important to rehearse your approach before going into a store or a meeting, and it’s equally important to phrase your language, even to yourself, in attractive terms. So, don’t say, even to yourself, “I’m making a cold call.” Instead think, “I’m going to tell someone about a really good experience for them, getting to know me and my product.”
And I love to remind myself that, in Italian, that most romantic of modern languages, “work” is translated as “opera.”
I still use the expandable file folder with the book cover for “Fisherman’s Quilt” on the outside of the “briefcase” or portfolio that I greet new contacts with (with which I greet new contacts — I’m no preposition-dangler!)
Here’s what’s in my file:
My business card and tax registration business license in small plastic holders on the inside cover of the file;
sell sheets or one-page synopsis of my book and contact information;
extra book covers sent by the printer, with blurbs printed on the reverse, to leave with store owners for their display purposes;
press releases from publications;
order forms indicating discounts, purchaser information, ISBN number, contact information, delivery dates and amounts due (I leave one with purchaser and take the signed delivery copy with me for accounting);
a copy of my resume and marketing efforts listing websites, radio and cable interviews, newspaper articles, vendor accounts, tradeshow appearances, classes and presentations;
targeted promotional materials such as brochures for quilt shows or book fairs, signs for festival discounts, Amazon comment solicitation letters, individualized store posters;
8 x 11 inch poster for tabletop display during book signings and collapsible book display stands;
a copy of “The Fisherman’s Quilt” and the first volume of Port Gamble Publishing’s Newsletters.
Enjoy the opera!