Tuesday, August 8, 2023

Book Fairs, Festivals, Craft Shows


    Authors face a difficult task AFTER they finish a book and it's published. What could that be, you say? Promoting and selling those books. Yes, authors are expected to promote and help sell their books even if they go through a traditional publisher. So, how does one do that? Book fairs, festivals, and craft shows offer an opportunity for authors to sell books and pocket more of the profit.

    Where does a writer find a fair, festival or show? Look around the community, ask people, talk to other authors for suggestions. In my small community, several towns near by have harvest festivals each fall. The one in the town closest to me offers spaces at reasonable prices. The last year I attended, even with not nice weather, I sold quite a large number of books. Plus, I met people who wanted to know how to find my books and how to know when a new one came out. I had currents sales and possible future ones.

    One thing I discovered, having a booth at a festival that doesn't feature books and authors or at a craft show bring in more sales than having a book at a book festival or any event with more than four or five authors. With a large number of authors selling books at the same place and time, customers often go to the authors they know or whose names are familiar. Therefore, customers are overwhelmed with the large number of offerings.

    One author I know goes to some event almost every weekend, and he no longer has to work another job. He sells hundreds to thousands of dollars in books each event. It can be done.

    Authors who have their books at a festival, fair, or show need to remember to interact with the attendees. No, I don't mean waylay them and try to twist their arms to buy. First, be friendly. Ask people passing by what they like to read. When they tell their interests, guide them to books you have that meet one of their interests. If you don't have a genre they prefer, tell them just a bit about what you write and tell them where they might find what they prefer. You may not sell one of your books, but you will impress someone who may tell someone about your books. If nothing else, they will be amazed at your honesty.

    Promoting and selling your books may not be among your favorite things to do. You may hate marketing, but to be successful, you must. If James Patterson, as famous as he is, must promote his books, those of us not in the same lofty sales bracket must do much more than he does. Therefore, we need to find opportunities. Books fairs, festivals, and craft shows can be what works for you.


                                                                Vivian Zabel
                                                                Author, editor, publisher


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