Thinking Outside the (Bookstore) Box By Margaret Nava

Sometimes you have to think out of the box…the bookstore box, that is.

After spending countless hours touting my books at local bookstores, I came up with an idea: Why not sell them at arts & crafts shows? A lot of shows, especially those at churches, feature the same old merchandise ñ crocheted toilet paper covers, hand-beaded jewelry and all sorts of Christmas ornaments.

Books would be something new, something different. I got a list of shows from my local craft store, called a bunch of churches and gave it a try. And guess what? I sold twenty books on my first outing. At the next show, I handed out bookmarks that I made on my computer and sold almost thirty books.

At yet another show, I came up with an icon (in my case, a butterfly). I placed a paper-mache butterfly on the table, wore a butterfly necklace and earrings, and gave all the kiddos free butterfly pencils. The books flew off the table.

Sure, I have to spend more hours at a craft show than I would at a bookstore but I don’t have to drive from one bookstore to another, I don’t have to bully people into stopping at my table…and I get to sit down. That, in itself, is a blessing — especially at my age.

The important thing is that I’m selling more books at one show than I probably would at four bookstores. Of course, I still do signings at bookstores … after all, that’s part of what makes me a “writer.”

Margaret Nava has been writing non-fiction articles for more than thirty years. Some of the magazines she has written for include Wonderful West Virginia, Liguorian, Outdoor Indiana, Inter-Tribal America, Now and Then (ETSU), Herencia, Commonweal and KOA. In 2004, Sunstone Press of Santa Fe, NM published her travel guide, ALONG THE HIGH ROAD. Two years later, they published REMEMBERING:A GUIDE TO NEW MEXICO CEMETERIES, MONUMENTS AND MEMORIALS. Last year, Bell Bridge Books, a new imprint of BelleBooks of Smyrna, Georgia published her first “Lady-Lit” novel, EGRET COVE. The sequel, HUMMINGBIRD RIDGE is due out in early December and, hopefully, the third sometime next year. Check out Margaret’s website at