#WriterWednesday: Making a Book Fair Work for You

Book fairs can be a risky investment (you may not earn what you spent to get there), but I recommend making the investment. Here’s the why and how to make it work it work for you. 

Why Attend a Book Fair?

  • That’s where readers are! This reason should be simple and self explanatory. You’re a writer and you want to either to build a following or develop your growing following. There’s nothing like going out and meeting the people to build  a following
  • Networking–a book fair provides you with the opportunity to meet other authors, bloggers, etc. Which can lead to education on marketing strategies, connections, and greater understanding of the craft and business of writing. 

How to Make it Work for You

  • Attend a book fair that is geared towards the audience you want to reach. For example, my intended audience consists of black women ages 25-45, so this weekend I attended the Black Book Fair. A perfect place to encounter my audience and anyone else who may be interested in my writing. 
  • Take some time and search for fairs, festivals, and conferences that are geared toward your genre and your audience for vending opportunities.
  • During your down time (if you have an assistant) step away from your table and meet the authors around you, hand out flyers/cards/bookmarks or any other promotional item you have to readers. I did this at the Black Book Fair and I was able, by the grace of God to get a reader to follow me back to my table and purchase a book. 

    My sister, Nicole after setting up my table.
    My sister, Nicole after setting up my table.

How to Prepare for the Book Fair

Preparation is necessary for prosperity.

  • Be prepared to accept any forms of payment (except checks of course). You can get a Square reader for free from their site in order to accept electronic payments
  • Get change in advance. Yes, there is always some kind person who has change to spare, but really you need to have your own. 
  • Pack everything the night before. Your books, email list sign up sheet, candies, display items, etc. Be sure to check with the sponsors on the level of decoration allowed or feasible for that particular venue. Actually, you may want to keep the less is more concept in mind because an excessive amount of decoration may deter some readers. 
  • If possible have someone work the booth. Your nerves may be rattled and your adrenaline is pumping and you’re trying to do it all. Stop trying to do it all–bring a friend, sister, or cousin to give you a hand and chat with you when it’s slow. My sister always assists me during events (she’ll assist you if you want use the Contact page to request her help she does event planning, decorations, hosting, sales, and publicity) 
  • ENJOY! Have fun.

If you have any questions or information to share about attending book fairs and festivals please post them in the comments.