Showing posts with label book fairs. Show all posts
Showing posts with label book fairs. Show all posts

Writers: Tips on Selling Books at Bazaars & Fairs

Strive Not to Be a Success,
But to Be of Value.

                                           Albert Einstein
By Linda Wilson

This holiday season I joined with two other children’s authors to share a table at two holiday bazaars held at local high schools. It was my first time. I learned a lot, had loads of fun, and am thrilled that I’ve found a good way to sell my books in person. Up until now, I’ve been working on a marketing plan to interest readers online on social media sites and elsewhere, and to be honest, I haven’t even scratched the surface. While I continue to market my books online, I have decided it’s worth it to pursue marketing locally as well.

Here is a list of the items to consider:

City permit and/or state license: Check to see what permits and/or licenses are required in your area.
Books: Order copies in advance.
Square: Google “Square Reader” to see if your phone works with a free reader. All three of us used Squares at the fair. We did run into a problem, though, of having on-and-off service because we were situated in the middle of the building. Sales were made by stepping close to the door or outside. To advertise that you accept Square, fit a square sticker that comes with Square into a frame to display on the table.
Change: Make sure you have enough change for cash sales. Note: Keep track of purchases and which books were sold.
Take your favorite pen: Purchasers seemed delighted to receive signed copies, so you might have a favorite pen you want to take specifically for this.
Table: Check to see if you need to take your own table. About two tables, 40x40, which we brought, gave us the room we needed for our display.
Tablecloth and small decorations for the season.
Stool: Having a higher perch than a chair enabled me to sell while seated. The others using regular chairs had to stand and sit frequently throughout the day.
Sign-up sheet and pen: Each purchaser can sign their email address so you can send them your newsletters.
Posters: Foam-backed posters are available at Staples of your book covers at a low cost.
Poster stands and an upright stand: These stands help advertise your books and the upright stand on the table allows customers to see the books easily. Also, we made stacks of books set in neat rows across our areas.
Price sign: A colorful way to advertise the price of your books is to make cut outs with bright, neon paper. I made my cut out a star design with a bright pink background and a bright yellow star inside the pink star, with the price written in bright purple marker.
Misc. marketing materials: Bookmarks, pens, stickers, etc. I created my own To-do pad by splitting 3x3 post-its pads into about three sections, adhering my business card to a business-card-size magnetic card that I bought at Amazon Prime. The business card adheres to the magnetic card, then I taped the back of the magnetic card to the section of post-its with strong double-sided tape. On the top post-it I stamped an illustration and a quote from my first book in bright red. I bought the stamps and ink from I gave the To-do pads to purchasers.
Candy: Put candy out in a colorful dish.
Item to donate: You might be asked to donate an item for a silent auction.
Cart or suitcase: You will accumulate more than you can imagine, especially if you need to take your own table and chair/stool. Both my author friends used heavy duty collapsible folding wagons (available on Amazon Prime) to carry their items in and out. I used a suitcase and they shared their space for my larger items. In the future, I plan to invest in this type of wagon. We still made more than one trip, but the wagon made it easy.
Lunch and snacks: Think of what you’d like to have to eat and drink. It’s a long day with few breaks.

I learned a lot from my fellow authors who have sold their books together for a while. The best part of it is that it was fun being with them. It turned out that our books covered pre-school to adult. So, when someone showed an interest, we would ask if they were looking for a book for a certain age child and what they liked to read, then we could direct them to the books we thought were most suitable. Quite a few adults were interested in the books for adults, and some made purchases.

The best part was meeting my readers face to face. To see their eyes light up when they heard about my books and enjoyed looking at the illustrations made my efforts in writing for children rewarding beyond measure. I came home bubbling over with enthusiasm to dig into my next project . . . and my next fair.
Happy Holidays!

Linda Wilson, a former elementary teacher, has published over 150 articles for children and adults, several short stories for children, and her books, Secret in the Stars: An Abi Wunder Mystery, and A Packrat's Holiday: Thistletoe's Gift, which are available on Amazon, in the Mist, the second book in the Abi Wunder Myatery series, and the picture book, Tall Boots, will be out soon. Visit Linda at

Marketing with Newsletters and Blogs: Your Own and Others


Contributed by  Carolyn Howard-Johnson

I don't think using others' newsletters and blogs a panacea for easy promoting. Newsletters and blogs that belong to other people are a great way of promoting but they do lack some of the benefits that you have if you run your own. That would be:

1.   The independence you have with your own.

2.   Using your own as mini way to reward those who do something nice in terms of publicity for you. See the Thank You section in my SharingwithWriters newletter for examples of this.

3.   Networking by offering guest features, guest posts, and other ways to link to people who—if they're savvy marketers—will reciprocate. If not today, then later.

4.   The ability to drive traffic to your Web site, online bookstore page, of anywhere your little heart desires.

Having a newsletter and blog of your own is a lovely way to share what you know. And having one doesn't discourage doing that in others' newsletters and blogs, anyway!

Here's an example of a tip I submitted to Penny Sansevieri's "A Marketing Expert" newsletter.

Reader Tip: Include Action Shots on Your Website

When you're updating your website as suggested by this Book Marketing Expert newsletter, be sure to include at least one action shot of you doing something. Many bloggers and online folks like plain old generic headshots but print media still need a whole lot more than someone holding his or her book or accepting an award. And TV producers need to see some possibilities for action in the still photos or videos you offer. Use my media room as a very basic example ( and Penny's as an example of what you're aiming for: And read more on why you need to relate to the media and how to do it in The Frugal Book Promoter at

Tip offered by Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of the multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally series of how-to books for writers. 

Here's an action shot like the one I suggested (see left). You just have to think of shot that is somehow associated with your book.
Having said that, any image is better than none at all. So a picture of you with your book at a book fair works, even though it may not qualify as a real action shot. Grab your book before the shutter snaps and take a picture anyway. But grab a fellow book fair participant to be in your shot with you because he or she may be willing to help you promote. Two marketers/publicists are better than one.
For more information on newsletters and blogging use the index of your Frugal Book Promoter ( to find help, ideas, and tons more references.

Providing tips for others is a great way to extend your reach. But it's limited. You own blog and newsletter issn't. That's why I can include this additional tip in this blog post without considering word count (or just being a real pest to the newsletter editor!).  Here it is:
Re-use your action photo. Repetition is good for sales. That's why you have a book cover. I use this one in the image feature of my marketing books on my Amazon buy pages (see the images I posted on my Buy Page on my Frugal Book Promoter page), on my Web site, and sometimes send it to feature editors after I've been interviewed. Especially if they don't mention sending a photographer to take a picture. It's part of our jobs to make it easy for editors to do their jobs easily and well.
If you'd like to be sure you see all my favorite marketing and writing tips subscribe to my SharingwithWriters newsletter at The subscribe button is in the right of almost every page. And you'll get a free little e-booklet on wordtrippers when you do it. And, yes. I encourage you to submit your own favorite tips to that newsletter and to include credit lines with links to your book's sales page.   

Order Your Books for Holiday Giving Now--Especially for Those Who Deserve Your Thanks

I thought VBT subscribers and visitors might want a reminder that books! Yep, books! Make great holiday gifts. This is one that multi award-winning author Mary Green recommends. Gift yourself or the author in your life who has helped spread word of mouth. Amazon promised delivery by December 25th.

The Frugal Book Promoter
Second edition, expanded and updated
By Carolyn Howard-Johnson
416 pages
ISBN: 9781463743291
Available in paperback or for Kindle
Also available as an e-book at

Author's Web site:

5.0 out of 5 stars Everything you wanted to know about book promoting and much
much more., September 25, 2011
Reviewed by
originally for Amazon

This review is from: The Frugal Book Promoter: Second Edition: How to get nearly free publicity on your own or by partnering with your publisher. (Paperback)
When I saw the Table of Contents for this promoting bible, I was hooked. There was a chapter on everything I wanted or needed to know. I have written three "How To" books and have had a number of reviews and awards, but I am looking to go to the next level with some fresh new ideas. In other words, I had reached a plateau and did not want to repeat the same old methods.

When I first started reading the book I immediately liked the tone. It was as though the author was in my living room saying: Mary, why don't you try this and maybe you don't want to do this." Her books, like mine, are based on her personal experience. She has done book fairs; she has taught classes and consulted with authors; she has written award-winning books. She is an expert. That is what makes the book so powerful. I have read books that make me feel guilty if I haven't done ten things for my book that day.

Yesterday, I exhibited at a book festival and most of the authors were complaining that they had few sales. I looked up the topic in my new book. The author says "Book festivals are for readers." I knew intuitively that she was right. She goes on to say that these are really networking opportunities for the writers and not that many books are sold. That shift made me feel encouraged rather than discouraged at the book festival's results. Even though I did not sell tons of books, I did meet a lot of people: readers, writers and bookstore owners. I got a few tips and gave a few tips. I reconnected with people I had seen at previous events and got some recommendations for the best venues for future events. The author was spot on.

I also checked the chapter on book awards. I have won a total of 28 book awards for my three books and thought I knew all there was to know about awards and have spoken on the subject. However, after reading that section on book awards, I realized that I was not doing enough publicizing after I won the book awards and I am going to remedy that situation. Another tip I picked up. I am now going to say Mary Greenwood, multi-award winning author, instead of award-winning author.

Of course, I wished I had seen this book when my first book came out, but I can see that this book is useful for all authors, those working on their first book and authors who already have published several books and need some new ideas. I know I will go back and reread a chapter when I am starting a new task such as a press release or am thinking about doing a new blog or sprucing up my website.

I am just starting on my new book about "How to Negotiate With Your Dog" (hint: you don't.) I am going to use The Frugal Book Promoter Second Edition, the whole way. I can't wait to get started!
~Reviewer Green is author of How to Interview Like A Pro: Forty-Three Rules for Getting Your Next Job

Your Children's Story and the Message

  By Karen Cioffi, Children's Writer I get a lot of clients who want to tell children something through a book. These people want to sen...