There is a lot of work getting prepared for one of these. It isn't just a matter of slapping the book on the table, sitting back and raking in the do-re-mi as buyer after buyer throws cash in your face.
Okay, I do stand corrected. There was one gentleman who came to the affair, had a whole table to himself - an eight-foot-long table. He had ONE book title, three copies spread out in a small arc in the middle of the table. He sat back in his chair, feet up on the table, and rested for the remainder of the event. At the end, he picked up his 3 books, put them in a satchel and left. Done.
Others, like me, put up a display with books tastefully displayed, colorful announcements, handy business cards, and 'gimmicks' to draw the attendees to the table. I normally use candy but am thinking of something else... maybe I'll discuss that further on.
Here's a picture of one of my events just a few weeks ago at the Findlay Author's Fair.
You can't see them, but there are about 100 small LED lights under the white cloth. I used battery operated ones, not knowing if there would be an electrical outlet handy. Do you see the white-on-white conduit against the wall? Yes, I would have been the only one with electricity in the room. Since then, I take along the electric LED lights that can change to any color of my choice, and/or rotate colors and/or flash, too. No electricity most of the time, but they don't weigh that much.
As stated, the Findlay event was almost a month ago and there have been two other events since.
The attendees come through, browse the books, talk and talk and really seem intrigued and very interested in the books. You'd be amazed how many "gush" about how they just love a good Amish story to read. Uh, but no purchases. No, but they do ask if it is available online. They want to purchase the electronic version.
Okay, not a book purchase at the show, but a potential purchase via Amazon or elsewhere online. It doesn't matter, it's called royalty and it all counts. I'll take electronic purchases.
I keep checking my online stats for my books - both those I published and those of my publishers. I'm a hybrid author, having some books via several different publishers and some books I have self-published on Kindle/Create Space and at Smashwords.
Need I say? Yes, the numbers continue to plummet into the abyss. No online purchases.
Ah-ha!! Call it the lightbulb going on above my head... OR getting hit by lightning.
It is a ruse by the potential customer. By stating they want it online, they're not caught in the dilemma of telling me no to my face. They can give me false hope of a sale and continue on their merry way without feeling terrible. Maybe they will buy a copy online, but more likely, they won't.
I'm open to suggestions of how to get an event attendee to commit to a purchase. I've offered beautiful metal bookmarks, I even had some crocheted bookmarks. I've offered buy one, get another one at half price. And, I attempted to lure them with candy. Oh, yeah, and I smile a lot.
About the candy. Someone suggested gum cigars, similar to those the proud dads buy at the birth of a new baby. They can be purchased, specialized with events or other words to denote, let's say, a book. Of course, one could buy specially marked M & M candies.
What else could be given away? My friend offered a free book drawing. She would give away a copy of her latest book to one of the attendees. She got four people to sign up. Not what would I call a real good return on the investment since she didn't sell any copies, either.
Short of knocking the attendee to the floor, ripping the purse open or pulling the wallet from the hip pocket and digging out the money for the book ... any suggestions to help with sales?
My Amazon ratings continue to plummet.
False hope sucks.