I met some wonderful folks and had a great time (even sold a few books) at Fauquir High Shool's "Arctober" craft fair in Warrenton, VA today. I've done one book fair, but this was my first "craft" fair. As I'm learning is typical of these sorts of events, the organizers and exhibitors were all super friendly and welcoming. Several kind patrons bought books, and a good number of additional shoppers who didn't still wanted to talk with me about the song the book's based on, the story, the book writing process, and lots, lots more. I fell two books short of "breaking even" on the day, but I learned so much about how to better navigate the next event like this I attend, the experience was still well worth it. Here's a few tips: First, have a VERY short elevator pitch that sums up your book/story-- literally no more than 10-15 seconds tops. When folks walking by stop briefly to look at your booth, you can deliver that quick overview. Then if they don't turn and keep walking, or if they step a little closer, you can go deeper, but I could tell I ran off the first few potential buyers by trying to tell them too much while they were still making up their mind about whether to stop at my table. Second, tons of folks were very interested in "the process" and were eager to flip through a binder I had on the table featuring my rough sketches and original proofs from my illustrator (this might be a bigger draw at a generic craft fair as opposed to a book fair, but it was very popular today). Third, have business cards with your contact info and website on the front, and a QR code on the back that'll take them directly to your sales site (mine's Amazon) so if they don't buy when they're standing in front of you but decide later they wished they had, it's a convenient one or two click proposition to do so. Fourth, have a way to accept multiple means of payment. I used a "Square" credit card reader and placed a printed a QR code to my Venmo account in one of those little acrylic stands on my table so there were two non-cash alternatives ready to go. The shoppers really seemed to like that. Fifth, enjoy the experience! I engaged several folks in delightful conversations who weren't initially interested in buying, but who ended up coming back later in the event to buy a singed copy. Equally importantly, I met some wonderfully kind and interesting people. All in all--a pretty great day!
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