I cannot say that I attend as many book signings or events as many of my fellow authors but I have been to enough to make one observation I stand by wholeheartedly, you must look the part as well as create the products. I have been to art shows with numerous artists and have seen people there wearing everything from torn jeans and t-shirts to suits and ties. Those that present themselves with a sense of dignity and polished professionalism always seem to do better.
I understand that as an author I may spend a great deal of my time sitting around in pajama bottoms and a tank top with my computer sitting on my lap but when I get in front of an audience I am dressed quite differently. I don't go all the way to formal but I do wear a nice pair of pants or a skirt and a classier shirt with dress shoes. I make sure that the person standing in front of my books is a person I would buy from if the situation were reversed.
We are told throughout our lives not to judge books by the cover and as an author this has several meanings to me. It doesn't change the fact however that first impressions make a huge impact on everything we think about books, businesses and even people. If I go shopping at a craft show and the person didn't care enough to change out of their stained jeans or t-shirt with the holes in it I am less inclined to take them seriously. On the other hand I would struggle to believe in a builder that showed up in pressed slacks and a button down shirt. It is important to look the part for whatever activity you are trying to do.
Once I have gotten someone to my table and feel comfortable that I look as much like an author as I can, I must sell them on my speaking, presentation and ability to communicate my work. When someone buys a book from me they rarely do it without talking to me first. They get a piece of me with the book. They are in essence purchasing part of me and my story along with the story they hold in their hands. It is just as important that I use that time to connect with them so I can sell myself along with my book. Selling is in every aspect of what we do. They won't always buy a book if they like me but if I cannot get them interested in me at all then they will almost never buy a book I have created.