Blog No. 195
Last weekend I was invited to Essex for a Farmer’s Market. Initially, Christian and I thought we were going to be at the Busker’s Festival in Walkerville, but that fell through. Somehow, as if by magic, the organizer of the Farmer’s Market called up Christian, asking if we’d like to get a table there. I’m not sure how things work out like that some times, but it seems to happen a lot with us. We’ll be wondering what to do in the coming month and be invited to an event, or another author will tell us about something we haven’t heard of yet. Most of the events are small, but that doesn’t matter much. Sometimes it’s nice to have an easy day filled with nice people.
Plus, it’s at the events where I sell books. It’s nice that my book is available in Chapters and Biblioasis, but we do few sales there. It’s expected when the book is surrounded by hundreds of thousands of others, with new ones coming in all the time. Unless you are a well known author or have the backing of a major publisher (who can afford to put you on the ends of shelves and on tables) the book is just one of the pack. It’s at the events that you can nag people into buying your book. Events are tricky things though. I’ve done everything from big three day things that cost hundred for the table and freebees at stores. It’s hard to judge what the crowd will be like, and no matter how motivated a seller you are, without people, you’re not selling books. Even with a big crowd, there are so many variables that come into effect. Sometimes everything seems to click though.
The Farmer’s Market was as small an event I’ve been to. It was in a quaint church hall with a dozen (or so) tables covered miscellaneous items. Some people sold food, others handmade crafts. There was another book table too, but it was full of used books and was donation based. Even the concession (thankfully there was one) was simple (but very well priced). The table was cheap, and while I did have to drive to Essex (just a bit further than the local bookstore) it was easy to sell enough books to walk away with some cash in my pocket. We had low expectations, and surpassed them within an hour. Even the coffee and sausage I bought were covered. It was a nice quick event too, so my Saturday wasn’t spent sitting at a table, wishing more people would walk through the door.
All in all, it was a pleasant morning spent with a nice group of people (Christian the obvious exception). I enjoyed the drive, the sausage was tasty, I sold some books, and even got to putz about for the rest of the day. It’s possible I would have sold more at the Busker’s Festival, but I would have had to deal with the rain and the crowds. Plus, people may have been less likely to buy a book if they are at the event expecting to drop loonies and toonies into performer’s hats. Sometimes context is the key. Up next, I’ll be at Chapters in Devonshire Mall on Saturday the 20th from 1-4 pm. If you’re at the mall, come by and say hello!