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Thread: Are local author book fairs worth attending?

  1. #1

    Question Are local author book fairs worth attending?

    A local bookstore is hosting a local author book fair next month for local authors to display & sell their books. I've never attended one of these events, and I'm trying to decide if I should go or not. I was told by another local author to bring about 10 to 15 copies of each book title that I have for sale and bring a small table/pen for signing. It sounds like fun to meet fellow authors and potential readers, but I'm honestly not sure its worth the effort to set up for 4 hours if I can only expect to sell about ten copies. If there are no big name authors coming to this event, I'm not sure if it will be well-attended or not. Also, I think its an outdoor event, so obviously the weather (rain) could make or break the event.

    What are your thoughts on these types of events? Are they worth going? What do you recommend bringing besides a stack of books and a nice signing pen?
    Mikeyboy_esq
    proud author of:
    1) Engaging College Students: A Fun and Edgy Guide for Professors
    2) 14 Ways to Self-Publish a Book
    www.engagingcollegestudents.com

  2. #2
    Can you think of a particularly strong reason not to go?


    Also, since you're an author and member, have you seen our bookstore? Would you like to be included in said bookstore?
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  3. #3
    There's a bookstore? :O

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  4. #4
    This event sounds like fun. I'd go!

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  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Mikeyboy_esq View Post
    A local bookstore is hosting a local author book fair next month for local authors to display & sell their books. I've never attended one of these events, and I'm trying to decide if I should go or not. I was told by another local author to bring about 10 to 15 copies of each book title that I have for sale and bring a small table/pen for signing. It sounds like fun to meet fellow authors and potential readers, but I'm honestly not sure its worth the effort to set up for 4 hours if I can only expect to sell about ten copies. If there are no big name authors coming to this event, I'm not sure if it will be well-attended or not. Also, I think its an outdoor event, so obviously the weather (rain) could make or break the event.

    What are your thoughts on these types of events? Are they worth going? What do you recommend bringing besides a stack of books and a nice signing pen?
    You don't say if you have to pay to do this so I'll assume the book store is doing it free in order to publicise their store.
    My take is that, on the day, the money you will take may not seem much for four hours work. However, a possible ripple effect also needs to be taken into consideration. There is a possibility of meeting new people in the business and you never know who you might meet. Even if it doesn't pan out business wise, you may make a new friend or two.


  6. #6
    You won't make much money from such an event (even selling 10 books might be a reach), but it does serve to market your books, and you as a writer. I've done several of these and have always found them to be worthwhile even when I only sold a few books. It's a good way to meet other authors, and a good way to support the stores selling your books (you do have books in the store hosting the event, right?).

    If you are going to judge your writing career only be the money you make, then you might want to reevaluate why you write. Most published writers do not make a living from their writing, it's a low paying job and one at which it is difficult to succeed. Write for the love of writing, attend book-fairs for the camaraderie and the opportunity to meet your readers, not for potential sales.
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  7. #7
    Thanks for all of the replies. Good points.

    First, the book store does charge each author $20 (non-refundable) to participate in the book fair.

    Second, I don't think this store carries my books. It is primarily set up as a re-sell book store/discount store.

    Third, the only reasons I can think of to NOT attend are that:
    1) if it rains, I just wasted $20 (LOL),
    2) after further research, I found out this particular bookstore is very small and has a tiny store front next to some medium-sized businesses in a strip center (meaning, it most definitely will be an outdoor event as there is probably no room indoors to set up tables for the authors)... my point being that I'm not confident that this little store (which features mostly re-sell books) will draw much foot traffic, and
    3) my 2 books are non-fiction and not necessarily targeted to the general public, and I'm not confident that the foot traffic this store does draw in will be interested in my books.

    Last, money is not really the issue for me. I'm not in it for the money, but I don't want to spend my time frivolously. I just don't think my time is well-spent at this small book fair if the goal is book sales (assuming I can only expect 10 sales (max). If the main goal of such an event is to meet fellow authors, I can see some value in that. However, I'd personally rather meet authors at local meetings for authors. For example, tonight I attended a meeting of a local writers guild that I recently joined and met several local authors. It was great fun, and I learned a lot from discussion issues with my fellow authors. Tomorrow night, I'm attending a meeting across town for another local writing organization and look forward to meeting more local authors. I could be wrong, but I'm thinking these author meetings are probably better suited to meeting and mingling with authors as compared to a book fair where I'm more or less stuck at my table (hoping customers might come along).

    Again, I welcome everyone's feedback. I'm a newbie author and have lots to learn. So I appreciate everyone's 2 cents on this topic.
    Mikeyboy_esq
    proud author of:
    1) Engaging College Students: A Fun and Edgy Guide for Professors
    2) 14 Ways to Self-Publish a Book
    www.engagingcollegestudents.com

  8. #8
    Do you know how much advertisement/effort in spreading the word of the event has occurred? Or is there a track record? This will give an idea of reader traffic, and potential reader interest (maybe romance sells and horror isn't really popular--or visa versa. You indicated nonfiction for your works, so...)

    Really, it depends on your interest. Sometimes you can establish a few loyal readers, and sometimes digital sales in the next week or two might bump up.

    It is an opportunity to network with other authors, face to face.

    Outdoor events, with wind and possible rain, and if you don't have a tent/canopy, even the sun can get get annoying.

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