Monday, December 9, 2013

10 Tips for Holiday Book Events and Craft Fairs

The season has been good for me. I've been attending several events and have sold quite a few books thanks to the generous "snow birds" who are visiting our fair city. Travelers are great people to promote to. On those long quiet road trips, it's always nice to have either a good movie or a novel to pass the time. And many tourists have the means to attend the local social events that our city has during the holidays. We treasure their patronage and loyalty when they come to visit here for a few months. It's a great time to get out and meet people. Everyone is so nice and a future buyer may become a good friend because of this. With this in mind, I would like to share a few tips on how to do some selling for the winter holidays.

1. Remember to always carry at least a dozen postcards, book markers or brochures on you everywhere you go. You never know who you may meet someone at a restaurant or store that might be interested in your latest book. Get a feel for their interest and if it's not enthusiastic, let it go and smile anyway. Never pressure anyone.

2. Plan your book signings in good time and don't be shy about doing at least two such events if the store allows it. Talk with the Book Manager about it. I did one at Hastings Bookstore last month and I plan another book event before the "snow birds" head back home in the spring.

3. Carry at least two of each book in your car, if that's possible. I know some of you have a great number of books. I only have two so far. Keep them in a clean tote bag or carrying case. Make sure you have a pen in that bag also, so you can autograph the book if they want that. I've sold books at restaurants, stores, doctor waiting rooms and even my dentist office.

4. Promote your book events at the city's web calendars and contact the local Chamber of Commerce for any help on locating clubs and organizations you can contact for a book signing. Don't forget your social  networks like G+, Facebook and Twitter.

5. I mentioned craft fairs above and I have found out that lots of Christmas Craft Fairs welcome you if you are an indie author. Many let you keep all your earnings even if they require a payment for registering as a vendor to the event. Speak to some of the other vendors. They can tell you when the next event is going to take place so you can decide if you want to do that also.

6. Dress nice and smile a lot. Shake their hands and introduce yourself. It takes courage and it can be stressful, but if you don't try, people will walk right past you as if you were never there. If they answer "No thanks. I came for something else." Keep smiling and wish them a good day.

7. Take at least one bottle of water and bring a clear plastic candy jar loaded with wrapped mints and chocolate M&M's or mini size bars. Offer the sweets to any customer and their kids. They might take a look at your books and crafts long enough for you to do your pitch.

8. Never forget to thank every person who buys your book and make sure they know about your blog and where they can reach you if they have any questions. Have business cards ready for this. Have a notebook handy in your bag and ask for their emails so you can contact them about your next book.

9. Join the local Writer's Group in your city and network with them. It's a great way to make new friends and writers help each other with critiques and advice. Mine is exceptional and I still see them whenever I can.

10. Consider signing up for a credit card app/swiper for your smartphone/iphone/tablet. I haven't had much need for one yet, but some people prefer to buy with their credit cards and you might lose a sale because you can only accept cash or checks.

I hope these tips help you. There is so much more to learn so do your homework and study the latest marketing techniques from books and articles at the library or online. I have been doing this for a few years and they have worked for me. I am sure you might have some good tips of your own. Please leave a comment of what you do to sell your books that might help other writers. I welcome all ideas as we work to spread the word about our literary creations.

Merry Christmas!
EV Medina