Selling Your Book At Craft Fairs! – by Patti Tingen

Selling Your Book At Craft Fairs! – by Patti Tingen

Publishing a book can be hard work. Selling it can be even harder. Thankfully, there are numerous ways to remedy that. I’m pleased to offer one unique way that I market and sell my books.

I’ve published two nonfiction inspirational books and an illustrated children’s picture book. I’m also a speaker, which enables me to reach additional audiences with my message of hope and encouragement along with my books. I frequently attend craft shows to sell my books, and to get leads on speaking engagements. As a result, I’ve given numerous presentations to church groups, women’s groups, retirement communities, libraries, and schools. This combination has enabled me to sell many more copies of my books than I otherwise would. If you think this might be a successful strategy for your skillset, I’d like to provide you with some tips I’ve learned along the way.

DO – Enjoy interacting with the public. After attending craft shows for nearly 10 years, I’ve become much more comfortable talking to shoppers about my books. Another author joined me on one occasion, and quickly discovered that type of venue was not for her. She’s a behind-the-scenes type of gal, and talking to strangers to promote herself and her books was very difficult for her. She noted, ‘You just jump up and start talking to people; I can see that it brings you life. I can’t do that.”

DO – Be enthusiastic and engaged. Time and time again, I see crafters and vendors sitting in their chairs, fiddling with their phones, or just generally looking bored and tired – even when someone is at their table and looking at their products! These same folks go on to complain about not selling anything. It does take a ton of energy! But, if I’m not going to be excited about my books, how/why would I expect someone else to show interest in them, and to then spend their hard-earned money on them? I try to stand the majority of the time and, if I do sit on occasion, I quickly “jump up” (as my friend noted) as soon as a potential shopper is within buying distance.

DO NOT oversell. While I do maintain an engaged posture, I never want someone to feel pressured. If they show any interest at all, I give them a quick 15-second overview of the books, and then stand back a bit to let them explore. Allowing them to hold the books, and look through them at their own pace while providing additional information when they ask seems to work best.

DO – Identify yourself as the author. I’m not sure what the average person thinks an author looks like but, apparently, they don’t think it’s me. Early on, I learned that I needed a poster that included my photo and name identifying myself as the author. Even with this, folks will sneak a look from the poster to me, often proclaiming, “That’s you!” Seriously, people ARE excited to meet a real live author, and are thrilled that they can buy an autographed copy.

Use your time and money wisely. I look for large events that draw thousands of potential shoppers, as well as shows that only feature handmade crafts. There are usually very few authors at these types of events so finding a show that matches my target audience provides a unique opportunity that shoppers are not expecting. Having my children’s book, in addition to my nonfiction books, has given me a wider range of potential buyers. Also, gaining opportunities for speaking engagements or author visits to schools can make attending a craft show worthwhile regardless of the sales from that show. Consider what other talents or skills you have to offer in order to set up additional opportunities to market your unique brand along with your books.

A huge thanks to WritersWeekly for giving me the opportunity to share some of my experiences with you. I hope you’ve found my article helpful. Happy bookselling to all!

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Patti Tingen is an award-winning author and speaker, bringing the message that we all have value and purpose. Her hope is that her words of personal experience, humor and testimony will continue to bless and inspire others. She has authored two nonfiction inspirational books as well as an illustrated children’s picture book. She and her husband Doug live in beautiful Lancaster County, PA.
Please visit www.pattitingenauthor.com to learn more.



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