Today, I attended the Glens Falls Chronicle Book Fair at the Queensbury Hotel. Over 100 local authors writing in every possible genre and for every age group shared their books. It’s a great opportunity to sell books, meet new people, and network.
There was a fairly good crowd, but with so many authors, it’s important to stand out and connect with the readers. Here is what I learned today to make my next book fair even more successful:
- Have an appealing and easily accessible table. I updated my table with bright signs with the prices. Once I did that, I actually sold more copies. It’s better to know the specials and prices right away without having to ask. Visuals attract. Many people were also lured to my table by the poster size cover of my book.
- Bundle books together. I sell my first two books, Warriors Within and Eyes of the Goddess as a bundle pack for less than they can be bought separately.
- Kid-friendly activities: When there are so many other books to look at, it’s helpful to have an activity for the kids. Not only does it involve the kids, but it allows the parents to talk to you about your books. I had brought a writing exercise, but most of the kids were a little too young. I did bring tattoos of Shimmer’s egg and a puzzle piece, which were very popular. Then the kids got excited when they connected the egg and puzzle to my book! Another author had handmade bookmarks or coloring pages that the kids really enjoyed.
- Have bookmarks or postcards to hand to people passing by. Even if they don’t stop at that moment, they have your information and can always order later.
- Engage the reader in conversation. You know that ‘elevator pitch’ you can say to someone the few seconds you have on the elevator? Have that ready for when someone asks you to tell them about your book. The author next to me was fantastic in connecting with people and pulling them into his story. He sold a ton of books! But also give people space to read the back of your book without constantly talking to them. It’s a balance.
- Provide promotional items–For The Puzzle Quests: Shimmer’s Eggs, I offered a free poster of the cover for the first 100 purchases. Everyone has loved these. Keith Willis, another author from Clifton Park, sells dragon pens with his fantasy book.
- Dress as a character from your book. There were a few people who were dressed like their character or dressed in a certain persona. It definitely sets you apart, but you have to be comfortable. Be yourself, share what you love about your book, and be authentic.
- Let people know you are going to be at the event! Social media, email, word of mouth. I texted and emailed friends who live in Glens Falls, and I was so happy to have Kacey stop by!
There is never a guarantee on how a book event is going to go. I have been to events where I literally didn’t sell one book and others where I sold a bunch. Selling books is obviously a huge part of it, but networking and sharing your story are also great ways to build your business.