Day 20 – Live author events

marketstall2-200Day 20 Prompt is:

With holiday shopping in full swing, ’tis most definitely craft fair season. Authors sometimes do well at craft events by virtue of being the only bookseller at an event. Not every live event is for every author – but they can be a great way to show off your book to the public and meet new potential readers. Have you done any live events? If so, how did it go? What’s your best tip for other authors to be successful? If you haven’t done them yet, what’s holding you up? What technique/display/idea have you seen a vendor use that might work for you or other authors?

This year, my friend Julie Grasso and I have been sharing a stand at a few markets. Some have been more successful than others, but usually we earn enough to cover the stand (though there have been a few exceptions).

We are still building up our resources, such as banners, etc, to make our stand really stand out, but that doesn’t stop us. A simple black table cloth helps the book covers stand out.

We are finding that kids will be attracted by our covers, but we can’t predict from market to market what covers will attract them!  Sometimes it’s not the covers, but the bookmarks or colouring activities we have on the table!

Next year, we are looking for markets that are on a Saturday as the Sunday markets haven’t been working so much for us with our families.

Here are some things we’ve learned from doing markets:

  • Have plenty of books, you never know which book will catch attention of visitors
  • Have bookmarks and other things you can give away. As we are children’s authors, we have activity sheets for kids
  • Have the ability to accept credit cards as well as cash. We haven’t used our credit card facilities much, but it’s worth having
  • Have a price list clearly on display that lists the name of the book and the price, as well as any specials you may have
  • Have more than one pen for signing books, you never know when your favourite pen may stop working!
  • Have plenty of change, people often pay with larger notes, so make sure you have a lot of change so you don’t miss out on sales
  • Take a water bottle and some snacks in case you can’t get away from your stand to eat
  • Have a way to record any sales you make and a receipt book if anyone wants a receipt for their sale
  • Take any information about author visits in case someone asks

I’m sure there’s more, but this is what I can think of right now. Sharing the stand with a friend is also great as we can have breaks if we need to as well as sharing the cost of the stall. We have also found that with more books there, we are more likely to make a sale when someone stops by!

While markets take time and can be a lot of work, we are selling more books there than if we’d just stayed at home.

If you would like to join the challenge, and would like to read the other posts, click here.

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