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The Book Sale

October 27, 2012

Today’s post is by guest blogger Nesa Barrie.

“Book Sale”

A few years ago, our writers group conducted its fledgling book fair with a sizable group of participating authors from several states.  It was my first time to assist in such a production.

Without a published book of my own, I minded another author’s table until she arrived.

There was much foot traffic in the beginning.  However, most of the visitors were there for other purposes.  Lots of lookers, few buyers.  Even the “engagers” had a difficult time closing sales.  One big name author with local ties seemed to have a fair degree of success.

I sat next to a very nice lady from a neighboring state.  Her table space was visually appealing, using signage and samples from her book on herbs.  She did well at engaging the public with her tasty samples and interesting (some might say notorious) family history tied to the content.

She was cold from the breeze coming in through the open doors.  Her grandson was visiting – she was missing her last day to see him before he went back to college.  She sat there missing him and shivering.  After a couple of wretched hours, she finally made her first sale.  Other sales followed, but not nearly enough.

The writing group learned several lessons that day and implemented changes in future efforts.  However, the damage was done.  Author attendees had spread the news of their bad experience.  After what should have been a promising start, the group’s book fair had a mountain of negative perception to overcome.

The campaign recruiting authors to participate in the book fair was quite a success.  Unfortunately, the effort put into attracting sufficient potential book purchasers for these vendors fell short.  Perhaps a tie-in with an existing arts group event might have proven more beneficial than a standalone book fair in the drafty facility housing multiple non-related venues.

Moral of the story – do the homework and get more things right the first time.

Nesa Barrie is:  “Interested, if not interesting.  Sarcastic, if not humorous.  Observant, hopefully not observed.  A most social loner.”

Photo credit: Patrick Gage / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

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