There are many benefits to attending local book fairs and as a writer you should think about taking advantage of them. Book fairs are organized by associations and organizations that want to bring attention and promote reading. This in and of itself is a good enough reason to attend a book fair as a new author wishing to expand your market and increase exposure and name recognition. Below are some helpful tips to make your time attending a book fair worthwhile.
Choose your fair
First you need to determine which book fairs would be the most beneficial for you. Do your research, decide which fairs are a good fit for your goals. Don’t be afraid to ask the organizers questions such as how many people have attended in the past.
Promotion before and at the event
Once you have decided which book fair you are going to attend, you can use the time leading up to the date to promote your presence at the book fair.
List the event on your social media pages, any websites and online calendars. Use your email lists to notify your readers that you’ll be selling books at the upcoming fair. Once you know the location of your booth within the fair, you can provide that information as well.
Bring promotional material with you to give away such as book marks and other trinkets that readers may enjoy that also promote you and your book.
Also bring an email sign up list. This allows you to generate a list of leads for your current and future books.
Ask those who purchase your book to review it after reading. You have a great face to face opportunity to ask for reviews which makes it more likely to happen. Have instructions for where you would like them to review your book prepared.
Keep costs low
It may be economical for you to consider sharing the expenses involved in attending a book fair.
Depending on what fair you are going to, the cost for a booth space can be hefty. You could share the space with other authors who are in the same genre, or perhaps share with someone who is selling something that is related to your book. Shop owners and local artists are often looking for more opportunities to display their goods and may be willing to sell with you and split expenses.
Preparing for the fair
Make sure you come prepared. Your #1 motive in attending a book fair is to sell your books, and there are a few simple steps you can take to maximize your sales.
First you will want to set your booth up so that it looks inviting. This can be as simple as putting a nice tablecloth across the table that compliments your book cover.
Make a large poster board version of your cover and have it on a tri-fold stand next to you. Any signs and photos you bring should be professionally printed.
Consider providing refreshments, everyone loves a cookie and/or cup of coffee. This could entice people to stay and have a conversation.
Make sure you have a copy of your book propped up on a book stand and not lying flat on the table so that your book gets maximum exposure.
Wear business-casual or business-professional clothes, you are selling yourself as well as your book.
Keep in mind that some fair organizations require that you have a business license or tax permit before you can sell at a booth and will ask that you bring those documents with you. Make sure you know each fair’s requirements and plan accordingly.
Be sure to have change handy for someone who wants to pay with cash and any processing equipment ready to accept credit card payments.
Bring extra information such as business cards or flyers in case you run out of books to sell.
Last, this is a great opportunity to network with other people in the same business. Be sure to have your 1 minute spiel ready to sell yourself and your work so that it comes out naturally and engaging.
Follow up with the people you met. Connect with them on social media and send an email to anyone who signed up for your email list.
Send out any book orders purchased, doing this in a timely manner will keep your customers happy.
Send a thank you card to the fair organizers if you enjoyed the fair and provide feedback for improvements.