Saturday, October 28, 2006

Booth Review

Just when I think ... it can't get any better ...

First a rant ... for all those who filed past my booth and said, "I don't have time to read," ... I want to say turn off the TV, and pick up a good book!

Okay ... that's done. On to the blog.

The past two days ... a grueling 6:30 a.m. to after 10 p.m. workdays ... all spent in a booth at the High Point Junior League's holiday shopping extravaganza ... and it absolutely ROCKED!

But let's start back on Thursday ... RF Microdevices ... sometimes you chock it all up to a learning experience. I'm sure the company is a wonderful place to work, the buildings are clean and beautiful, the grounds nicely landscaped, the people bright and cheery. But a word to the author-promoting-book wise ... HEALTH FAIRS are NOT a place to promote your book. (Unless you write medical stuff.) It's just not a place to sell FICTION!

First, it wasn't open to the public.

And second, employees weren't swarming into the frigid cold outside tent, and the few who did show up ... came to pick up free information, fill a bag with pens, refrigerator magnets, and free medical information. Employees drank hot chocolate, were glad to be away from their desks, and got their blood pressure taken.

Fact is, nobody comes to a health fair intending to buy a book! I sold three books and left early. Just not a venue for book promotion, that's all.

AND YET ... the next day we entered Providence Place in High Point (the old Belk's store in the mall) and set up our booth. By this time, we weren't expecting much from Thursday's "booth" experience.

But by Friday's end we had sold over 40 books! The venue was perfect. Small, intimate, great clientele. (Because it was a fundraiser for the Junior League--the public had to pay to enter, meaning they came with buying intentions!) The vendors were classy, no junk. The booths were spacious and I met so many great folk. The contacts were amazing! Networking ... the avenue to the stars. I met several women who were interested in me speaking at their groups or book clubs.

It was hard to believe Saturday's sales could outdo Friday's ... but they did! The "headlining" speaker at lunch ... I spoke to a room full! Over 90 women, bought tickets at $15.00 a pop to have lunch and hear this ole' Southern Fried gal speak. It brought tears to my tired eyes a couple times ... but Dena--you would've been proud of me, I made them laugh! Really, they were a great group of women, easy to talk to, the response warmed my heart ... by the end of the day ... another 60+ books sold!

A total of over 100 books sold in three days! Yeah ... we worked our butts off, but the pay off?

Huge, Mama.

It's near the end of October ... we've gone over our projected numbers of books sold! Southern Fried Women is still going strong and it keeps gaining momentum ... all because Michael and I think outside the box. We throw a lot of stuff up against the wall. Some sticks. Some doesn't. We market and promote the book, all while trying to find time for me to write. It equates to 7 days a week ... long hours ... but here's the difference:

It's our time. Our business. We work it ... our way. Take note writers. I realize not everyone can or will do the type of diligent and consistent marketing we do. But one thing you have to realize ... you MUST get out there, speak to people, talk to bookstores, find ways to get the word out about your book on a regular basis. I've said this before ... writing is the easy part.

It's what comes next that will take away your sleep and turn your hair gray overnight. But I would NOT trade what I do ... for anything. I'm a writer. It's part of the job.

Speaking of writers ... a plethora of women filed past my booth and proclaimed their desire to "write a book." None of them had the first clue of how and where to start. I encouraged these onlookers to stop talking about it and join a qualified writing group, take writing classes, attend a conference, go to the Internet and research, but the best way to start writing ... is ... to start writing! And to read. Turn off the TV and read. Set priorities, give up unnecessary wastes of time, and start writing!

Are vendor booths a good thing? Few are. Very few, in my opinion ... but this one, the booth at the Junior League, kicked butt! Yes, I'd say -- very successful.

Just when I think it can't get any better ...

it does.

Blessings to you and yours.

1 comment:

dale said...

Writing is the easy part. I think each part gets harder and more frustrating. Writing is like singing--everyone ones to do it, many try, but fewer are good, and rarely is one successful.

Book promoting is, without a doubt, the hardest part and can get expensive before it pays off. I've read that 98% of pod authors never make any money.

The two biggest limitations for me is time and money.