Book Seller on the Midway
Civil War reenactments, on the other hand, are excellent venues for me because middlers attend with their parents and grandparents, and they have an interest in the Civil War. The elders want to encourage the interest. There are many home school families who attend reenactments and living history days; the publisher of my Avery and Gunner books is well-known to them. BJU Press/Journey Forth publishes a lot of their curriculum and families trust the brand. That’s why you see me at so many of these events selling Avery’s Battlefield, Avery’s Crossroad, and The Mysterious Life of Jim Limber.
Last weekend I did attend a community festival three hours away in my own state. I didn’t expect to sell many books for all the reasons above. The Hiddenite Heritage Foundation invited me. Their museum has an extensive doll collection. I visited them when Blue-Eyed Doll was coming out, to talk to them about carrying the book in their shop and having my presentation as one of their events. They’re hoping to do that in the next year, and the events planner thought this would be good exposure for me and the book. Marketing is often as simple as looking for future opportunities.
The Hiddenite Celebration was a surprise to me. It was well organized, had 87 vendors, 4 entertainment stages with different kinds of music and dancing all day, lots of food and craftsmen, like apple farmers with a cider press, homemade ice cream, and horse-shoeing. Native Americans demonstrated crafts like flute-making, carving, weaving, and baskets. I saw some of my Indian friends from the museum in Cherokee. I’ve been wanting to give Mr. Owl a copy of McIntosh Summer, so I did that.
Hiddenite is a small town in the rural piedmont of our state. Soybeans, tobacco, and furniture manufacturing are the backbone of these counties of small towns and farms, of honest, hardworking people. The hospitality, patience, and genuine friendliness of the folks are enough to bring me back. And books? I sold a big bunch of books including Spirit the Tiny White Reindeer which was on the table for the first time.
The marketing tip I’m sharing with authors today is that not every venue is going to be a good one for you. Try different ones, then assess them with a business mindset. You need to look at your long term goal. Always remember that not all your books sold today are purchased today. Business cards go home, and the memory of the books will linger, sometimes for a long time, but eventually the sale you made today will be purchased. Marketing takes patience, especially when you can’t pinpoint the reason a venue was a success or a failure. And sometimes you just need to have fun selling books.