12/1/09

Selling Books at Craft Fairs

Over the last few weeks, I tried my hand at selling my new book at a few local craft/holiday shows. Here are some of the high and low points of my endeavors:

High Points
1. My target audience is Christian families with kids ages 5-10 or so, so selling at shows hosted by churches with elementary schools seemed like a logical way to go. Overall, reaction has been very positive and encouraging and sales decent in my opinion for the time frame.

2. One show had door prizes and all vendors were to donate an item. This seemed to generate interest/anticipation because some people put their tickets in before walking the show and then were excited to see and meet me when they got to my table. At least a couple bought the book so they'd have one win or lose.

3. A librarian bought a copy at the most recent show which of course increases the book's exposure way beyond that day. Nice bonus!

Low Points
1. Attendance at the first show was dismal, the second pretty good, the third not dismal, but not great. You never know, that part's never within your control so you have to be prepared to lose money. Not expecting it, but prepared because it does happen.

2.Though most people are prepared with cash, some paid by check and I want to give people the benefit of the doubt. Got my first returned check in the mail today. We'll see if she returns my phone call. (TIP make sure to try to get a phone number if it's not printed on the check).

The last note I have for you isn't really a high or low point, it's just a fact: To have any kind of success at this type of outlet, you must be prepared to hustle (and I don't mean that fun dance you do at weddings :-D).

I'd say 50-75% of my sales have been due to interaction and directly engaging the customer. For example, if they slowed down they were greeted with "Good morning". If they stopped to look or even came close to stopping, I pointed out I was the author. From there, I explained who the book was for and tried to guide the conversation to a sale. Of course, not everyone who engaged bought, but many did who might otherwise not have thought about that person on their list, or who might not have taken the extra time to find out more beyond the cover.

If that type of selling is not your style, you aren't out of the game yet. Find someone who will go with you to do most of the talking. My husband was with me at one show and he's generally even more outspoken than I am so between the two of us, things went pretty well. If you don't have someone to bring along, craft shows might not be for you. At all three shows I saw plenty of vendors leave pretty empty handed because they simply sat there (sometimes reading books etc.) waiting for the customer to make the first move-but they didn't.

Bottom line, if you're up for meeting, greeting and personally sharing your passion for your books and your book fits the right audience (women buying for themselves or family members), I say craft/vendor shows are worth at least a try or two.

Good Writing & God Bless,
Cheryl Pickett

1 comment:

dave said...

Who knows though....doing 'The Hustle' (the dance) might not hurt either....you don't know until you try [it will certainly bring attention to you :)]