Three Festivals, an Experiment in Marketing
When I saw on the Civil War website the Battle of Byron close to our lake house in middle Georgia, I registered for what I believed to be a small Civil War reenactment. I would stay at our lake house in Jackson, Georgia, and not have a hotel expense. After I registered and received the official welcome and promotional stuff, I saw, for the first time, the complete name of this one-day event: The Battle of Byron and Cinco de Mayo. It’s a community fundraiser and the battles are between the community participants to raise money for Byron! Oops. Okay, I won’t wear my period clothing, and I’ll put Cinco de Mayo candies on my table. I’ll sell all three books, and promote Bread Upon the Water coming soon. I’ll have a great time in Byron and a couple of relaxing days at the lake with Dave and Lily. It’s only mildly embarrassing. It’s also a good chance to check out how well the books do at festivals as compared to reenactments. Kind of a market evaluation....
At noon I heard thunder. Was it thunder or the screaming D.J., and the noise of the midway? I decided it was. The sky was blue all around, but directly overhead a tiny black cloud spun ominously, and the comfortable breeze was turning to wind. I decided to run to the car and grab the tarp, just in case. Not half way to the car I saw a wall of rain advancing toward me. The wind gusted, the thunder clapped loudly and the rain was on top of us. No time to get to the car. Surprised people were screaming and running in all directions. I ran back to my canopy to be sure the book boxes were under the table. Two guys were standing in the midway holding my runaway canopy while other vendors held theirs down or chased tents tumbling across the field. Everything had blown off my tables including my priceless portraits of Lily and Jessie. Only the table was protecting the book boxes and the wind was blowing everybody’s everythings everywhere. The guys ran my canopy back, lowered the legs and we all hunkered under it, protecting the boxes and keeping the legs anchored. It was over in less than ten minutes.
I ran to the car, drove it onto the field and loaded everything in. The sun came out and the steam began to rise from the grass. By the time I was loaded it must have been at least ninety degrees with incredible humidity. I just wanted to get my materials dried off and spread out before the posters, pictures, or maybe damp books were ruined. I actually suffered no damage for all that. Thank you, God, for protecting your books and my favorite pictures.
People had their phones out checking radar which showed no rain anywhere and all around us the sky was clear. One person found one pin-head-size green storm on his radar, directly over us. It was the only rain for miles in all directions.
Even if the weather had cooperated, this wasn’t a great venue for me, although it was a wonderful community festival. There were things going on every moment on the stage, rides and free things for the kids. They were all about being entertained, and on their own. Several of my potential middle school buyers were part of the entertainment, dancers, musicians, bands, orchestras, cloggers, beauty pageants. They had other things on their minds. They didn’t have time to hear my spiel, anxious to get to the midway rides, find their friends and pizza, and not interested in carrying books around. I sold three therapy dog books, gave out some cards and made a few school connections.
I went to the dog rescue tent which was close to me, and talked to the director about my therapy dog book and seminar. The director was excited to meet me. She said just last Sunday at her church in Warner Robbins, Georgia, a friend gave her that book and told her she must read it. The friend said it was wonderful! Well, that was sure nice, and was the highlight of my day.
Market Evaluation for the first festival, not the best place for my product.