Festival with a Contract
The third May festival I tried was the Canton Arts Festival, in Canton, Georgia. I’d answered a query on the American Christian Fiction Writers email loop a while back from an author who wanted to share a table at this festival. I jumped right in, no air tank or anything, just submerge, feet first. No idea of mileage, weather, or strangers; forward with my marketing research!
The weather was wonderful and the crowd huge and consistent. I stayed in the home of my new email/ table friend Debbie Malone, the author of Death in Dahlonega. It was a lot of fun to stay in her home and meet her and her family. Networking works for authors. I did sell 22 books that afternoon, gave my website a jolt, and made some good school contacts.
The most exciting thing was meeting Tracy Ruckman, the editor of Write Integrity Press who had expressed interest in acquiring Cracks in the Ice. She lives in Canton and I let her know I’d be here and would like to meet her. She brought me a contract for the book! It will release in .......
One of my memories of that day is the author/teacher/counselor/speaker in the booth next to us. She told me she’d spent a lot of money recently attending three marketing workshops, two live and one on-line.
“I’ve learned more about marketing books in the last thirty minutes watching you than I learned in all those workshops combined,” she told me. “Did you ever think about teaching one? You really know how to sell books!” That was certainly a nice compliment to take away with me and a needed vitamin boost for my confidence.
So what did I learn about festivals? Avery and Gunner definitely do better at reenactments and schools. I’ll not choose a festival over a reenactment for the Avery books. Kids at reenactments have their heads wrapped around Civil War before they walk through the gate. There are few things there especially for them and they have mom and dad or grandpa handy with the money. There’s a lot of competition for parents’ money at the festivals. Kids are often not with their families but on their own with friends. The bigger the festival the more choices families have to make as to where to spend their money. The fact that they can get the book later, Amazon, kindle, bookstore, my website, makes it the one they will choose to get “later.” Other authors’ books may do better at festivals, especially with giveaways, themes, or books with a local flavor. Debbie, for instance does very well with Death in Dahlonega at the Dahlonega festival, and Murder in Marietta does well at Marietta festivals. The Civil War books belong at reenactments, middle schools, museums and libraries. But, being out there, getting the book covers recognized, that matters, too. Remember my mantra: Not all books sold this day are purchased this day.
Like Avery and Gunner every book has something unique that sells in a unique environment. The trick is to figure out that uniqueness, then how to pursue it. Two-sided fliers featuring all the books, colored covers and hook lines, are going to Sylva, NC, next Saturday for the homeschool curriculum sale, led by Avery and Gunner books at the top of the page because that publisher is well known to homeschool associations. The other books will be acceptable by association. Know who your audience is, and where to find them. Then take the product to them.