Sunday, November 29, 2009

Selling Books at the Holiday Market

This is me, fairly early on Friday when I had plenty of energy. I was still a happy camper with a smile on my face on Saturday afternoon, but I looked more like something cat had dragged in. Thank goodness, I wore comfortable shoes both days.


The Holiday Market is held annually at the Senior Center in Fort Collins, Colorado on the Friday and Saturday following Thanksgiving. Although authors had occasionally signed up for booths in the past, the Authors' Nook wasn't established until 2008. This year was my first time as a vendor, and I shared Author Nook space with two local and very well-known writers: Barbara Fleming and Teresa Funke.

At this well-attended craft fair, booths fill the lobby, every activity room, the large multi-purpose rooms, the stage and the gymnasium. We three authors were very lucky to be placed in a high-traffic area in the lobby, not far from the main entrance. Visitors had to pass our booths at least twice as they covered every corner of the market.

In addition, we had the lovely wreaths and tree ornaments from Barbara and Dave Zinkhan's Odyssey Creations to look at for two days,


and another nearby that featured tempting preserves from Rocky Mountain Orchards. I bought this jar to give as a gift, but I think the pumpkin butter is more likely to end up on my own breakfast English muffins.


More accustomed to bookstore presentations and signings where it's common to have customers avoiding eye contact and rushing past so they don't have to talk to the authors, I was thrilled to be at a craft fair where people want to buy, want to ask questions about products and how things are done, don't mind chatting with the vendors, and stop to admire works even if they don't plan to purchase that item. I found the experience a lot more rewarding than a bookstore signing, and as much a promotional event as a sales event.

I sold thirty-one books, which is more than twice what I expected. I would do a local craft fair again in a heartbeat. Why do I say local? Because almost everyone who bought my book first asked if I was a local author.

At least twenty people stopped to look at The Prairie Grass Murders because they saw the review in Colorado Country Life, the magazine of the Colorado Rural Electric Association. Others came up to chat because they admired the six-foot crocheted scarf I used at the front of my table for decoration (it serves as the background for the above photo of the Pumpkin Butter). Since I also did a big business in free bookmarks and postcards (not to mention the Hershey's Kisses), I'm hoping those contacts translate into a few more online or bookstore sales between now and Christmas. I talked to dozens and dozens of people I'd never met before, including a few out-of-state folks visiting relatives for the holidays. This was definitely an excellent experience.

14 comments:

Julee said...

What a fabulous idea! I'm glad it worked out well for you. I'll definitely remember to explore this if I'm ever lucky enough to be published :)

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

I did a local book fair back in September. It looked to me like the self-help people and the children's authors did the best. I, too, did a big business in chocolate and postcards...

Glad to hear YOU did so well. Keep it up!

Kay Theodoratus said...

Glad it went so well for you.

You were right. They did have a big crowd.

Sylvia Dickey Smith said...

Great work! And I think you look fresh as a daisy!

sylviadickeysmithbooks.wordpress.com said...

Look to hear more good results over the holiday sales!

Elizabeth Bradley said...

I'm so glad it was a success.

Margot Kinberg said...

Looks as though you had a terrific time and a good turnout. I'm really happy for you!

Terry Odell said...

Fantastic sales numbers. And I've heard from other authors who have sold zero at craft fairs, so this is great!

Mason Canyon said...

The photos look great. Glad it turned out so well for you. Sounds like a wonderful outing for authors and readers. Wish they had one around our area.

Jeanie said...

That does look like a fun venue for promoting your books. I'm so glad it was successful for you. I hope it results in even more sales.

Jane Kennedy Sutton said...

Wow - you did great! Way to go! I haven't tried that sort of venue but now I'm definitely going to check out craft shows in the area.

Karen Walker said...

That is fantastic, Patricia. Congratulations. I think mystery books and children's books do very well at events like this, judging from my experience.
karen

Kerrie said...

I am so glad this was such a success for you.

The Old Silly said...

Sounds like a wonderful and successful outing! Good for you. I once set up a booth at a local Farmer's Market. Friends thought I was nuts, like who at a FM wants to buy books, right? But I sold 20 books that day and added dozens of peeps to my email list. It was fun and profitable.

Marvin D Wilson