Natalie here today. Today I have a fantastic tip by a friend and Michigan author Sandy Carlson about how to promote your books through festivals and fairs. Sandy is the author of THE TOWN THAT DISAPEARED, a MG historical fiction novel about a town that was buried in sand in the middle 1800’s that was released in March, 2014. Details of the giveaway are at the end of the post.
FESTIVALS AND FAIRS – Promoting During Summertime
Summer is the time for festivals, and they usually happen on weekends. As events include venders hawking their wares, what a perfect time for authors to sit and talk with lots of different folk about your very own ware, i.e., your book(s).
Step One: Identifying Festivals and Fairs
Either read your local newspaper for events, or Google festivals and fairs in your location range. Often towns will list their summer events on their websites. If you have a dog in your story, seek out Dog Festivals. If you wrote about cowboys or Indians, Frontier Days are waiting for you. If you have unicorns or mermaids or armored warriors, your book is a perfect fit for the many Medieval Faires throughout the states.
Step Two: Preparing for the Event
Register for the event, and read the fine print. For instance, some events require each vender to have a fire extinguisher.
Items to take with you: A table and chair is essential. Cover the table with a decorative or bright cloth. Signs indicating what you are selling. Most event booths have E-Z ups or push-ups or some sort of canopy over the table – essential in case of rain. Bug spray is handy for events in or near woods. Prepare for what to do in gusts of wind, e.g. weights. Take plenty of water, especially in the heat of the summer months. If you plan on eating vender food, taking some anti-acid tablets might come in handy. (Just saying.)
Set up and take down your “booth” at home to make sure you can easily do it on the day of the event before the visitors start in.
Step back and look at it from the attendee’s point of view (simple thing for authors to do) and ask yourself: Is it inviting? Is it too busy or too slack? Can people ambling past immediately identify what your product is?
Freebies are always fun and welcoming. Naturally, you would have business cards. You could also have wrapped candy mints (no chocolate; chocolate melts!), or bookmarks, or pencils with your book name on them, or a drawing for a free book (for which you also have contact numbers for updates of future books). Be creative. Have fun with it.
Step Three: The Event
Set up your booth as close to the walkway as allowed. Don’t be shy. Ask a question to passer-bys to get them to step up to your table, like, “Are you in fourth grade?” (if your book is for that age group); “Do you like snakes?” (if your book has snakes in them); “How many fish do you think are in this bowl?” Don’t talk on and on. Adjust your spiel to each potential customer. And SMILE.
It’s best to have someone else with you during the event, at least for part of it. If not, get to know your vender mates, especially those on either side of you and across from you. If you are alone, these wonderful folk come in very handy for any trips to the portapotties. The day can be very long, often ten hours long. Exchange business cards with the venders you met. Buy from them, if appropriate.
Step Four: Evaluate
Wash and put everything away. Step back from it and think what went well and what could be improved. Weigh your options. As each event has a different flow, one event may pull in lots of sales and others may only cover the cost of registration. Plan for your next event.
Thanks for the great tip, Sandy. You can find Sandy at:
Act of man or act of God? Just how many homes and friends does a kid have to lose in twelve years?
Driven from his neighborhood during the Chicago fire of 1871, Adrian and his parents move to the Michigan wilderness where his father lands a job at the sawmill. The town is called Singapore - as if a name could make a tiny spit of a town into a great seaport.
Adrian finds it difficult to adjust to his new surroundings. Back in Chaicago, it was easy to keep his hobby a secret, even from his father. But in this small town, will people discover who the true knitter of the family is? Only his best friend, big R.T., keeps Adrian level, even though R.T. does have that habit of speaking in animal dialects.
Then, just as Adrian starts to feel that Singapore is his home, he discovers the moving sand dunes along the Lake Michigan shore are slowly burying his town. He tries to stop it, but how can he fight both man and nature?
Sandy has generally offered a copy of THE TOWN THAT DISAPPEARED for a giveaway. It’ll be a print version for US and an e-book for International winner. To enter, all you need to do is be a follower (just click the follow button if you’re not a follower) and leave a comment by midnight on June 15th. I’ll announce the winner on June 17th.
If you mention this contest on Twitter, Facebook, or your blog, mention this in the comments and I'll give you an extra entry. You must be 13 or older to enter. International entries are welcome.
Hope to see you on Monday when I interview Dianne Salerni and give away an ARC of her new book, THE CAGED GRAVES. It’s a historical novel filled with mystery, paranormal elements, and romance that I really enjoyed. Dianne’s one of my writing heroes and I’m thrilled to interview her.