Thursday, November 21, 2013

The Christmas Fair - Some Lessons Learned

The recent venture of six of our ACFW Ohio members, myself included, at the Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy's Christmas Fair was a good place to learn a few more marketing tips. Starting with, how do you strike up a conversation about your books?

Saundra Staats McLemore stood at one end of the booth we set up and I stood at the other. I lured people in by asking if they would like a piece of candy from my basket. That at least drew their eye to the books behind me. Saundra would ask those who glanced at our booth, "What kind of books do you like to read?" From there she would delve into the diverse collection we had on our table (historical, mystery, YA, fantasy, sci-fi, women's fiction, etc.)

Undaunted when the answer was, "I don't read," Saundra would then suggest that they knew someone who reads and these would make great Christmas gifts as they were all written from a Christian perspective and were safe to give as gifts. In all fairness, Saundra does have a background in marketing and her technique caught on with the rest of us. She was a great example.

When you sell at a show, festival, fair, etc., you need to draw people in and engage them in conversation. If you don't feel you can do this, then you need to partner with someone who can or not waste your time and money on a booth. One of the hardest things for some of us authors is emerging from our writing shell and meeting strangers. Those comfort cocoons we surround ourselves with as we sit at our computers and write will not help us sell books unless we break out.

One of the things we talked about for the future should we decide to try this again is making "goodie" bags--bags that will have postcards, bookmarks, pens, or other promotional items in it to hand out. One of the things I found was that people were willing to take my postcard and Carole Brown's bookmark when I said they had a recipe on them. Of course I slipped in a few others that didn't (smile). Hopefully the promotional materials will lead to online sales from those who were not ready to buy that day.

Just one more note: At the beginning of the day before it got too busy, I went around to other vendor's booths and engaged them in conversation about their display then passed them a postcard and mentioned we had books for sale if they were able to get around to our table. Again, it's all about engaging people in conversation. Using your words to sell what your written words have created. Anything I missed?


  1. I'm sure each event is a learning curve. I will be at a book signing on Saturday with Carole Brown and Saundra Staats McLemore so I will be sure to take lessons from them!

  2. Karen,

    Thanks for the compliments and the great blog. My best to you this Christmas season in the marketing of your books! I was so pleased to meet all of you and I look forward to this Saturday in Englewood, Ohio with Sharon Lavy and Carole Brown.