Saturday, September 17, 2011

Packing Your Book Cart

Hi gang! Sunny here.

Tomorrow I leave for San Luis Obispo for the annual one-day book event. It's outdoors in front of the mission. Besides books, there's music, speeches and lots of tables to check out. People walk their dogs and the riverwalk right below is gorgeous.

So, what are the tricks to handling such an event? Everyone does it differently, but here's my tips:

The table. Tables can cost, but I'm a member of the Central Coast Sisters in Crime and they always assign me time to man the table. We sell each other's books while they are speaking or enjoying the rest of the event.

I have a boxy cart with wheels and a long handle my sister picked up at Costco. Many of us travel with these carrying cases. In it are copies of my mysteries and the Valley Fever anthology. Many of the coast people have ties with the Valley people. Nice crossover.

My books are bound in a "set" with raffia and small plastic grape clusters I found at Michael's. I lower the price to $20 for the set, more likely to make easy sales and don't have to worry about change.

I also have the usual business cards and my editor cards. I steal my name cards from panels at conferences, so I keep a few of those in my cart. I also have cardboard book holders to keep my books upright and on display. They fold up and are very useful. A friend got them for me.

My give-aways are astrology-themed pencils. I will sharpen them then snap off the points so children won't stab their eyes out. I'm not big on children, but I'm not out to maim them.

Sometimes, when I have my own table, I have an astrology throw that I cover the table with. This time I'm only taking an astrology cup and saucer to put business cards in. My friends get me astrology stuff as they come across it.

And, I have a wooden tray with a winery logo to set my books on. Although my books are in raisin country, the people on the coast have all sorts of wineries.

I also have my signing book out to collect addresses. Remember, I have another book coming out and these are my potential customers.

I'm bringing a few Oak Tree Press catalogs to hand out to bookstores. There are about 5 of us OTP authors meeting there for the day.

Would love to hear how some of you experienced authors handle signings. For you pre-published authors, start thinking in terms of what's ahead.


Anonymous said...

These are excellent suggestions, Sunny. Some of these things I've already done, some are new ideas I'll incorporate into my displays for craft fairs this fall and winter. I also saw a folding posterboard type screen to sit on a table in back of the chairs that would be nice to hang stuff on. You're such a great POSSE leader.
Three Seconds to Thunder (due out 2012)

Anonymous said...

One often-overlooked sales opportunity: preach to the choir. I've written two mystery novels featuring a detective who solves crimes on cruise ships. I lecture on cruise ships. The last slide of each of my presentations is my book cover. Many sales result.

William Doonan

Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

Always take a table cloth in case one isn't furnished. The CCBook Festival does but some don't. Be sure to bring change. I had my own table so my name was on it, but I do take a name stand for other events. Got to see Sunny briefly and a few other OTP authors. It was a great day for me.

Morgan Mandel said...

Bribes like candy get people over to a table, but sometimes you end up with kids coming back and forth, but no readers. (g)

Morgan Mandel

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