“Did you write this?” Another shopper stands with a copy of my poetry book, eyes shining, mouth twitching with giggles. She removes her purse from her bag and I lift my pen.
“How shall I sign it?” I asked her. She told me whether to write To Nana with one ‘n’ or two, or to Granny from Lewis and James, or to many other combinations. Last week I was asked to write ‘To Nana from Benson’. Benson is the family dog.
This is my first full Christmas season of taking my book – Grandma’s Poetry Book – to Christmas markets and fairs. I’m so busy with events I can’t remember when I last did any housework. But the dust can wait…
I’ve chosen a selection of local fairs which support schools and charity organisations, and also attend some further afield where the area may bring more of the type of visitors who will buy the book.
I must confess I hadn’t been looking forward to promoting my self-published book, but it’s been well received so now I’m proud to display my products.
My top tips…
Ask for a review. I always make sure I put out plenty of business cards and flyers, as well as a slip asking the buyer to leave a review on Amazon. Lots of buyers don’t do this as they’re buying the book as a gift. I always suggest they read it before wrapping so they can leave the review themselves – if I’m lucky the recipient will leave one too!
Keep it simple. As I don’t need too much space – just half a table will do – I can set up in about 15 minutes. This is really helpful if events are oversubscribed, as I can often squeeze in. I know crafters who have arrived at 8am for a 10am start while we have had an extra hour in bed.
Likewise, taking down my display takes minutes. As I live on the first floor of a Victorian building, the lack of boxes, crates and other paraphernalia makes me pleased to be a writer rather than an artist or ‘maker’ especially as my other half and I are of the older generation.
Listen to advice. We have met many interesting, lovely people at our events this season. My memory is sorely tested each time as stallholders I met at a previous venue stop to say hello. Others attending our events are always willing to share their wisdom on where my book may sell and venues I can try. I always return home with a notebook of ideas and websites to Google. What I have learned is that the book-signing experience is a never-ending journey.
Today, one buyer asked “Is this just one book?” and I realised that the sooner I can have two books on my table the better. I’m working on my next one now and just need to find the time to finish it!
Meanwhile, I have ideas for making my table more interesting. I will be putting free poems on A5 or A4 sheets as I have seen the interest from youngsters and I am keen to engage children with poetry. I also have some wonderful snippets from the reviews which I’ll be framing.
For now, though, it’s back to Facebook and the internet to find more dates and events. Hope to see you there!
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