So, I just participated in my first book fair and I wanted to provide you all with some tips on how to potentially make yours a success. I managed to sell twelve copies of my crime fiction story, Bound by the Badge, within a three-hour period. Not bad for such a small venue.
Visually set up your display table to draw people in. I had a 16” x 20” print of my book cover propped up on a stand as well my top four customer reviews printed out and put in an 8.5” x 11” frame. I had two “browsing books” (explained later on), one book on a display stand, ten books out for display, business cards, candy, and free generic stickers for kids. Others had table cloths and banners.
Ask them for their name when you first meet. It’s much more personal when you address someone by their first name as opposed to sir or ma’am. And it blows their mind when you use it at the conclusion of your interaction.
Accept credit cards. Let’s face it; people will purposely bring a limited amount of cash to prevent themselves from overspending. But if you have PayPal Here or Square, then you can accept credit cards as well. Do your research on this. It’s not as simple as it sounds. You have to be “accepted”. I had to turn down two people who asked to pay by credit card because I didn’t have one.
Have a book labeled “Browsing Copy”. Some people are hesitant to thumb through your nice, shiny books. I put a small yellow label on the bottom of one and encouraged them to pick it up. Putting the product in their hands is a key part of making that sale.
Advertise your book price. One guy had his retail price ($16.99) vs. his book fair price ($10.00) displayed. His customers felt as if they were getting a deal. Who doesn’t like a deal. I pitched my own books similarly, but also explained how they saved on shipping if they bought it at the fair.
Ask them to leave a review on Amazon or the social media outlet of your choosing. Research Amazon’s “verified purchase” policy so you can quickly explain it to your customers. Reviews encourage your customers to be part of the process and makes them feel as though their input matters. Guess what? It does.
Let them leave without a business card even though they say they’ll be back. Some people don’t like saying the dreaded no to an aspiring/struggling author. So they’ll say something similar to, “Okay, let me look around and I’ll be back.” That’s perfectly fine. I replied with something along the lines of, “Okay, but here’s a business card in case you have to leave.”
Hard sell them by being too pushy. Understand they likely have an allotted allowance and can’t spend hundreds of dollars on every book. Be assertive, not overly aggressive. You’ll be able to tell who isn’t interested vs. who’s on the fence. For the people on the fence, be sure to let them know where else they can buy the book; Amazon, Barnes & Nobles, etc…
Speak over them when they are actively reading your blurb. Your blurb took you a long time to perfect. It’s what sells your book. Wait for them to finish reading it before giving them your pitch.
Judge a person by their appearance. I was surprised at the age ranges of those who purchased my book. Thankfully, I treated everyone the same.
Be glued to social media. In between customers, I was posting on Facebook live and Instagram live, taking pictures, and responding to my posts. Advertising is extremely important. It netted me another six Amazon verified purchases from that event. However, when you see potential customers in the area, put that phone down.
Sadly, I didn’t become an overnight success. But you might. Take what you will from my experience, do your homework, and above all, have fun.