I often encourage my clients to reach a bit farther than one expects from a new author--regardless of their expertise or experience. For one thing, the services available to authors (like spots at in book fair booths) are often bare-bones. The alternative may be to do-it-yourself and even make a profit which can then be used to boost the author's marketing budget for the future.
I once sponsored book fair booths at the LA TimesFestival of Books with Joyce Faulkner after we started a writers' group called Authors' Coalition. Slowly and at considerable cost—one year at a time—I learned what works for book fairs, tradeshows, and other public events and what doesn’t. My booth partners and I used tons of value-added promotions including:
- We shared printing and postage costs of catalogs we produced ourselves that featured booth participants’ books and an invitation to the fair. With permission, we used the fair logo to give the catalog credibility. We sent our catalog to book buyers, media, and influentials like movie producers (because that fair is in the middle of Hollywood land).
- We produced a video/trailer featuring booth participants at an additional charge. The charge made it more likely that our video stars would use it for their blogs, websites, and other promotion both before and after the fair and we ran it on a large screen in our booth.
- Books (often overruns or slightly damaged) donated by other authors became gifts-with-purchase of other books from our booth.
- A drawing for a gift basket was successful because it garnered the contact information of many readers. We shared that information with all booth participants, too.
- We produced totes and bags featuring our bookcover images and our booth number. We gave them to folks to carry the books they had purchased from us. These bags then became advertisements for our booth as our customers carried them around the grounds.
- Some of our booth participants wore T-shirts emblazoned with images of their bookcovers, their website addresses, and our booth number.
- Each participant produced posters that we used to decorate the booth.
- We had mini training sessions for our booth participants in which we urged them to talk up one another’s books, guided them through promotion possibilities and display techniques, and gave them resources for promotion materials.
The Frugal Editor (bit.ly/FrugalEditor) award-winner as well as the winner of Reader View's Literary Award in the publishing category. She is the recipient of both the California Legislature's Woman of the Year in Arts and Entertainment Award and the coveted Irwin award. She appears in commercials for the likes of Blue Shield, Disney Cruises (Japan), and Time-Life CDs and is a popular speaker at writers’ conferences. Her website is www.HowToDoItFrugally.com.