Monday, May 6, 2024

Selling your books in person, an open book blog hop post


Welcome to Open Book Blog Hop. You can find us every Monday talking about the writing life. I hope you'll check out all the posts: you'll find the links at the bottom of this post.

Do you attend book selling events? What is your best tip to sell books at one? 


I do indeed, several times a year, attend events where I sell my books. In fact, I attended one just this past weekend, Ravencon in Richmond, Virgina, and had a lovely time! I've got Galaxycon upcoming in July, and Bookmarks Book Festival on my calendar for September, too. 

Display is key at these things, in my observation. It's one of those cases where investing in a few eye-catching items can make a lot of difference. In my case, I've invested in a table runner, a standing banner, printed bookmarks, and a couple of different types of bookracks for table display. 

Me with my table runner and upright book rack at Concarolinas in 2021

All of these help a reader make a good guess from across the room whether or not my books would be of interest to them. 

Of course, I didn't buy these all at once, but a piece at a time, with different events in mind. In fact, I had another banner before this one that became outdated when my Menopausal Superhero books got a rebrand in 2019. I expect that, in the future, I may want other banners as my catalogue expands. So, I balance that when I'm deciding how much I'm willing to spend on these display items. 

My standing banner behind my Galaxycon table in 2023, with my new spinner rack.

The logo and imprint name "Dangerous When Bored" on my table runner will often elicit a smile from someone walking past my table at an event, and that might make them slow down and look at my covers. The "half hero/half horror" with book covers gives a reader a hint even at a distance what my most common genres are. 

Once a potential reader stops by my table, I introduce myself, asking a question or making a comment when possible to try and get a conversation started. (It took me some time to build comfort with this bit, BTW, since I'm a hardcore introvert). I'm convinced more than one person has bought a book from me because I complimented their clothing or understood the reference on their tee-shirt. 

I try to gage if a reader is drawn in by any particular cover and offer a little more information about that particular book. Saying nothing at all can be bad, because you seem disinterested and the reader might need you to start the conversation, but saying too much can be overwhelming, too. I've got a very short, pithy pitch for each book at the ready and only go into more depth if that seems wanted. 

If they seem like they're going to walk away without buying, I thank them for their time and try to get them to take a bookmark, so they can check out my work online at their leisure. I often see a spike in online sales in the days following an in-person event, too. Some folks want to support you, but have burned through their budget, or have limited luggage space to consider. 

So, there you go. My best advice is to make as easy as possible for the potential reader to ascertain what kinds of books you're selling through well chosen display items and swag. 

How about you fellow Open Book bloggers? What works for you? For readers stopping by my blog today, what kinds of things will get you to buy a book from someone at in-person events? I'd love to hear about it in the comments below!

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  1. I've not done any big events, but my publisher used to do GalaxyCon in Raleigh. (Stopped when the cost of the booth got too high.)

    1. It's definitely pricey and getting pricier! I suspect this might be my last year there. I share a table with three other authors, which helps.

  2. Great display. I too found it hard to talk at first but I'm getting better.

    1. It doesn't come naturally to me, but I worked on it.

  3. Sounds like you've found some success in these events. Congratulations!

  4. Love the table runner. I should consider one for my setup.

    1. I find it especially useful when I'm sharing a table--it designates which part of the display is mine.