Hand-selling is one of the most important parts of the whole bookselling process. A bookstore manager or sales clerk who likes a book, or knows the store's stock, can make recommendations to customers. If you as an author get to know the bookstore's staff, they can help get your books into the hands of customers.
When I was in Toronto for Bloody Words, I went to two terrific gay bookstores: Not the Rosedale Library and Glad Day. At the first, I just walked in off the street and asked to speak to the manager. I had to identify myself as an author-- not some complaining customer. Then the manager and I had a nice chat about gay books, and I told him a little about myself.
And then he hand-sold me a couple of books-- ones that his customers really seemed to like, or so he said. I just finished reading Joey Comeau's Lockpick Pornography, which I bought because the manager thought highly of it and said the store could barely keep it in stock. He knew the author's back story, too-- about how he'd started publishing online to earn enough money for college.
I was hooked. I bought the book, which I liked-- it's a very interesting riff on gender, in particular, wrapped around a sexy, funny story. I hope this manager will be pushing Mahu the same way!