I am a newly published author with a book release date for April of 2019. This is very exciting and I am trying to make sure I have everything ready so I do not look like a total newbie. And there is so much to learn, but unfortunately, they don’t really have books that really tell you what the experience is going to be like. This is probably due to the fact that each experience, like each story, is unique.
So, before you go on, I want you to understand that what I am putting together for you today is not how to sell your book to an agent or editor. I am not going to tell you how to market your book. This article is about how do YOU sell YOUR published book in markets and book fairs.
Nothing teaches you better than experience. Of course, I have none since my book isn’t even out yet! So I turned to my regional chapter of SCBWI (Society of Children’s Books Writers and Illustrators) who helps support regional traditionally published authors (PALS) at a local weekend market in downtown Anchorage, Alaska. The PALS (many of which have years of experience) get together six times over the summer to help support one another as they sell their books to the abundant tourists who pass through our state.
In our state, we have many books published to catch the tourist’s eye, but sadly, many of them are not written by local authors nor are they carried in many of our local gift shops. Our booth helps give exposure to our well written books while providing the visiting public with the opportunity to get a book signed and personalized from the author.
I decided that if I wanted to learn about selling my own book, I needed to learn from those who already had experience. Over the next few weeks, I will post 5 Tips that I have learned while helping sell books.
TIP #1: Location, Location, Location
This seems pretty straight forward, right? But there are a lot of factors to think about. It is not just about where you go, but when and what your goal is.
Think about what kind of market you are going into. Will it be a place to sell books? What kind of people will be there and what are they doing? Understand not only your marketplace, but your market.
Learn the flow of your market. You want to be where people want to be, where people can stop and linger. At our market, there is a stage. This can be a blessing and a scourge. While it is nice to have music playing and making people happy, you can’t control it. If it gets loud or a poor performer, people will move away.
There are so many things to watch for: bathrooms stink, food vendors smell good, but you wind up with people carrying food into your booth and accidents happen. Just be aware of your surroundings and try to get someplace with good visibility and traffic.
Also, especially if you are at an outdoor market, rain and wind do not play well with books. Choose your day well. Poor weather will also drive away crowds or cause them to rush. We set up 6 times over the summer and always wait until close to the day to determine the weather.
Even if you choose the best market on a perfect day, that alone won’t sell your books. You can have thousands of people walk by and they won’t stop. If they don’t stop, then you won’t sell any books.
Next week, TIP #2: How to get people to stop.