Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Selling Books at Booths.

As a writer, everything is found by trial and error. What works great for someone else might not work as well for you, since every book is different. I am finding methods that work well for romance and fantasy books written for adults might not generate the same results for the Middle-Grade audience I am trying to reach. So far, my best sales have not been generated from ebooks, book signings or advertising. My best sales have come from booths.
Kids want to pick something up and hold it. They see the excitement on your face and it's contagious. The greatest feeling I've ever had as an author has been when a child sees my book cover and starts jumping up and down.

I have worked extremely hard to find the right cover, lettering, mood, etc. for my book, and that's one thing about kids. They are honest. They don't pretend to like something, they either do or they don't.
I designed bookmarks with my book cover, QR code and web address. At street events I will watch the street for kids that look to be in the right age range. I will walk up to them and ask if they like to read and hand them a bookmark. At my last street event, 50 percent of the kids I handed bookmarks to came over with their parents and bought both of my books. That's amazing! 
It's also good to have a different book to use for an example. Because my book is set in a future, post-apocalyptic environment, I asked each kid "Did you read Hunger Games?" Most of them had and were thrilled to know I had a book in the same genre.

So here are some tips I am compiling through trial and error. 

1. Make your table inviting. Create a large poster of your book cover and glue it to foam board. Have candy or other treats to hand out.

2. Have bookmarks with your book cover and QR code. I designed mine and had them printed on cardstock for 20 cents a page at Staples (each page was five bookmarks). I cut them out myself with a paper cutter. You can also order them from an online company. Think of each one as a seed and possible future sale. 

3. Approach people and be excited. This might be hard for some people if you aren't naturally a people person, but if kids don't think you're excited, they sure won't be.

4. Don't hesitate to ask. If you can't afford a pricey booth at an event, ask if you can go in with a small portion of space with another vendor. Or ask the event cordinators if you can bring an activity or read portions of the story throughout the day in exchange for a discount.

5. If you have more than one book in a series, offer a discount if all are purchased. I sold every single customer both copies of my book because I offered a discount. 

Do you have any more tips? I would love to hear them!

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