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  • Writer's picturePete M

Day 546: Is participating in a book fair worth the cost?

Updated: Oct 17, 2021

If you’re thinking about participating in a book fair or book festival, I highly recommend the experience! I participated in the Fredericksburg, VA Independent Book Festival (FIFB) yesterday. It was my first one – really glad I did it. First, it was creatively energizing to be around lots of other independent writers. Second, the organizers were OUTSTANDING… Registration was super easy, they followed up with helpful informative emails, and everything ran incredibly smoothly on the day of the event. Couldn’t be more pleased! Third, and perhaps most importantly if you find yourself thinking “is it worth the cost to participate in such an event?” here’s my perspective: I learned SOOOOO much about who the real target audience for my book is. Based on conversations with a steady stream of folks with whom I got to interact over the course of just over a 6-hour day, (about half of whom bought a copy of the book) it became readily apparent that at least two thirds of the $$ I spent on targeted FB ads last holiday season could’ve been far better spent. It also seemed kidlit enthusiasts are very interested in learning about the back story and the “process” almost as much as the finished product. I displayed on the table next to my finished books a notebook containing paired pages of the concepts I sent my incredible illustrator, and the phenomenal artwork she sent back. People seemed to love flippin through the notebook. I’ll definitely do that again. I had a whole bowl of Hershey kisses because I heard candy was a must, but I think I ended up putting all but about 3 back I the bag at the end of the day. I spent $20 on the foam core mounted poster (shown in the picture) that also seemed to be a good attention-getter. Did I break even? Nope. But I’m still very glad I did it. In addition to the epiphany about my most likely audience, I learned a lot about the importance of a good “elevator pitch….” How you describe your book in 60 seconds or less so folks can decide if they want to hear more. Having a polished, concise, attention getting quick description committed to memory is an absolute must! All in all - a great experience!

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