One relatively inexpensive way for a new author to sell books is by reserving a table at a community craft fair. Your only investment is: your books (which, presumably, you already purchased beforehand); your time (craft fairs generally run from around ten o’clock in the morning to three o’clock in the afternoon on a Saturday); your table registration fee (which is usually somewhere between $35 to $50 depending on the venue and location); your presentation (anything from a simple table cloth to display stands to posters); and your cash float (so you have change available for paying customers). That’s all there is to it.
The number of books you can sell at a craft sale is largely dependent on traffic flow. How well did the organizer promote the event on behalf of the vendors? How well did you promote your own attendance at the event? (It’s not only up to the organizer to bring people to the sale!) It can be “hit or miss” at these fairs, but don’t let that discourage you. If you were able to hand out a few flyers or business cards to people who wouldn’t otherwise know you, that’s still valuable exposure for a new artist. And if you sold more than enough books to pay for your table, consider the event a success.
How much of an entrepreneur are you? Rather than paying to attend someone else’s craft fair, have you ever considered organizing one of your own? It’s a lot more work, but it’s a way to earn extra profit in addition to your book sales. First, you find an available venue and decide how many tables it will accommodate. Next, you figure out the total cost of that venue plus any other advertising you will use to promote the sale (such as display ads in community newspapers, street signs for the day of the event, and Facebook event invites … to name a few). Finally, you divide up your cost per table (which should include an additional fee to cover your own time and effort as the organizer) and start selling the event to other vendors. In my experience, most people will jump on the opportunity to promote their products and services at such a reasonable rate. Once you get one or two people interested, the word spreads fast and the tables are all full before you know it.
Can anyone else add to this entry about community craft fairs? Do you have any advice new authors can use to help them make their own events more successful?
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