Book Fairs, Author & Writers Events are great ways to show off your book and connect with other authors.
Here’s a few things to keep in mind as you are selecting your events:
What does it cost?
There is no guarantee that you will sell cases of books. Sometimes, these events are more about meeting people than selling. So don’t spend a lot of money on registration. How do you decide? Figure out how many books you need to sell to cover the expense; is it attainable? If so, go for it. If not, you have to ask yourself if your presence at such an event is worth the cost. If you have to sell 100 copies of your book just to cover the cost of the table, proceed carefully. There are likely better ways to spend your money.
What is the audience?
Will those attending be potential buyer’s of your book?
What are the other costs?
Will there be travel, hotel, food costs during the time? You have to figure that in as well.
Once you’ve decided that this is the right event for you, here are some tricks of the trade:
Bring your own table clothe. Most events offer a white table clothe. Find one that makes your book cover pop. In a world of white tables, your’s will stand out.
Estimate the number of books you plan to sell and pack them carefully. Books damage easily in route and worn edges and spines don’t sell very well. If you have assistance, don’t bring all the books to the table. Leave some in the car and retrieve them as you need them. This not only helps in keeping them new looking, but also in the set up and tear down of your table.
Have a simple “order form” available just in case you sell more than you have on hand. Make sure you take payment at the table.
Business cards or book marks are great handouts. They are inexpensive and a way to give your guests something to take with them. It’s helpful to keep the backs of your business cards and book marks blank (and not glossy) so you can write a personalized note on them.
A few photos can add to the display. The original photo of the cover, photos of you through the writing process, arrival of your first shipment. This makes the reader feel part of the process.
Avoid handwritten signs. Make simple signs on the computer and print them out. Less is more when it comes to signage. You don’t need a lot of words, leave the words for the book. Make signs that are easy to read. Place them in acrylic holders. The more professional your table the more appealing it will be.
Keep the table clean! Make your table inviting. There’s no need for a ton of marketing material. Keep it simple so that your book is the center of attention.
If you can afford it, have a few books set aside to give away to people who can help get your book out. You never know who is wandering around such events. Be ready! Have a few already signed books to put in the hands of people who are in influential positions.
The pen! Authors need a special autograph pen that makes a statement. Have it ready and keep in with you. It says you are serious about writing!
Draw them in with candy! A bowl of treats on the table always draws people over. Once they have their hand in your candy jar, you can smother them with kindness and excitement of your book.
Have a few books already signed just in case you get busy.
Offer a bundle deal. This works well for those who have more than one title, or for books that would make a great gift for others.
Take the time to get set up with Paypal, Square or any other credit card company. Make it easy to buy your book! Have cash on hand to make change.
Always collect money at the table. “Out of sight, out of mind” is never more true than at such events. Get the money while they are standing in front of you, even if you’re taking orders.
Stand up as often as you can. Stand in front of your table if allowed. There’s an energy level that happens when you are standing and free to walk around, even if it is just behind the table. People feel freer to walk up to you. It’s an energy that draws them in. It also puts you eye to eye in stead of them looking down at you. Don’t be afraid to offer your hand and introduce yourself.
Don’t wait for them to speak. Ask questions and offer information. Greet them as if they just walked into your kitchen. Have your “fun” elevator speech ready.
“This is my first book”
“These are my books!”
“Are you a writer?”
“I’ve been working on this for 20 years!” (this is truer than most would like to admit)
“I write children’s books”
“I’ve a great business book for…”
“This is a great woman’s book for any age.”
Be excited about your book.
Be proud of the final product.
Be someone they want to talk to!
Pack a cooler with drinks and snacks – you’ll need energy throughout the day!