Selecting your venues:
- First item to consider is cost. Beware high-cost as well as no-cost gigs. (They are no cost for a reason – often no buyers, either.) Make sure it fits your budget.
- Factor out your time (which is valuable) and ask about the projected attendance.
- Estimate the time frame and travel time. Is it far enough away you’ll need a hotel? Is it several days long which also might mean a hotel? Hotels are not cheap, especially those in a downtown area.
- Who else is attending? Do they have some big names that will draw in the crowds?
What will you need to take? What might you need to purchase or order in advance? Here are some items for your list-
- Credit card reader
- Business cards
- List of books & prices and how many you are taking
- Display items – tablecloth, book stands, posters, banners, props, etc. Your own table
- When you reach your table/booth/spot, mentally plan the best way to set up your area.
- Make sure your books are easily visible and place bookmarks on the table.
- Arrange posters and banners so they get the most visibility.
- Make sure it’s easy for you to get to the reader side of the table.
- Network with other vendors/authors before the event – it will lead to new friends and more opportunities.
Time to sell:
- Engage people. Comment on what they are wearing. If you can get them talking, this breaks down a wall as you come off as friendly rather than someone just trying to sell something.
- When you get a reader, don’t overwhelm them. Find out what that person reads and point them to 2-3 books. Tell them about them, and if one perks interest, hand them the back of the book so they can read the synopsis.
- If there’s any interest, give that person a bookmark. He or she will never remember you or your book without it!
If they buy a book, offer to sign it and slip in a bookmark for another book. Ask to take their picture!
- There will be lulls. Just keep smiling! Use those times to network with others at the event.
Once you’ve packed and arrived back home, you’ll probably count your money first. Then you can calculate the time spent at the event versus the money you made. If it was worth your while, you can do it again. If not, cross it off your list and chalk it up as a marketing event.
Not every event will be a winner. Nor is the goal just to sell a ton of books. If you’ve handed out bookmarks and networked with others, you’ve planted seeds for the future. You’ve done your marketing and it will lead to more sales. Now, go get 'em!