So, I finally had my first vendor event. Actually, by the time of this post, I would have had 3 vendor events, but the takeaway is still the same.
Being the introvert that I am, I was worried and I was anxious. I worried about having to "sell" my books to people, and I was anxious that I would not sell any books. With the former, I convinced myself to think more of the event as not "selling" per se, but talking to people about my passion. With the latter, I calmed my nerves by thinking about the fact that my books sell on Amazon and at fairs and in bookstores so of course, they would also sell at the market!
The event that I chose to do was the local farmer's market. I chose the local farmer's market because:
I have been to the market as a customer several times, so I was familiar with the vendors and the vibe.
The vendor booth cost was low. I knew I only had to sell about 4-5 books, and the vendor fees would be covered.
The market is a relatively small event, so I could manage my stress and anxiety and not be too overwhelmed especially as a first time vendor.
I would likely be the only children's book vendor there, which gave me a competitive advantage.
The market was less than 10 minutes away from me and my sister who served as my helper. 😄
The market is only 4 hours long.
So, all of this (and probably more) went into my thought process for choosing my first market. Now, to the takeaways:
It's okay to keep it simple for your first vendor market (or any vendor market). I didn't have the large banners or other extravaganza because I was testing the waters, and it was all good.
Engage your potential customer, and give them a book tour! The major benefit of being in person is that you get to tell customers about YOU and your WHY!
Bring water and snacks (I didn't have much time to eat, but I did get quite thirsty talking to people).
I didn't have bookmarks or flyers. I do not know if this is good or bad. Some people opted to follow me on my social pages or subscribe to my website instead. And whoever bought my book had my website information right on the back of the book. (I placed an address label that said: "Did you enjoy this book? See more books at www.sugarcookiebooks.com). This way, an address label wouldn't get lost or thrown away like a bookmark or flyer.
What you think will fly off your shelf may not, and it's okay. I had a goal of which books I intended to sell (which did sell well) and assumed a "certain book" would be in high demand at the market (Not so much, it fares better on Amazon lol)
Package your books in a clear plastic bag so as customers walk around the market, they can advertise your product.
My biggest piece of advice to new authors looking to do a market is that it definitely helps if you have more than 1 book or product to sell. If you only have one book, then have other related merchandise available for purchase or wait until you publish more books. Believe me, you will publish more books.
Also, one more tidbit of advice, keep your book prices under $15. The sweet spot is $10. I found that people did not mind spending $10 or $11 on a book and would do so with little thought.
My regret is that I would like to have taken more photos with customers and my books but as things picked up and the market started going, unfortunately, photos lost priority.
And just in case you are wondering, though I have the other avenues for selling my books, I wanted to do an in-person event because I wanted to "feel" the market and test the market. I wanted to know first-hand why people bought MY book(s). What do people like about MY book(s). I also wanted to connect with people and possibly get more exposure as a local author. There are bloggers that came to the event, and teachers, and other groups of people. At one point, I actually became known as "the book lady" as people asked customers, "Where did you get that book?" I am telling you, clear bags is a wonderful idea!!
Enjoy some photos and happy vending!!
Note: This video was from my first event, taken before patrons arrived.
Note: This video is from the last vendor show, so inventory was scarce (yay!)
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