Last Saturday I attended YALL Fest, a new Young Adult book festival right here in Charleston. I wanted to share my experience as a way to get ready for my next festival in Savannah on Saturday.
I sold 26 books, got lots of signatures for my newsletters, and hopefully made some new fans. I also met another local author and made plans to share expenses for future local book festivals. The highlight of my day was when a little girl named Cora brought her friends over to my table and started raving about the Priscilla the Great series. She said she gets the books from her aunt who knows the author personally. She almost fell over when I told her I was the author. Then she had me autograph anything and everything she could get her hands on. Later she brought her twin sister by and the signing started all over again. It turns out that her aunt is my husband’s coworker who has purchased several books from me for her nieces.
I also made some great connections. Two school teachers asked me to come speak at their schools. One has already emailed me with an order of 10 books.
The festival was really expensive. It cost $200 to have an exhibitor table. For a few days I thought I had made an $18 profit after selling the 26 books, but then I realized that I hadn’t counted what I paid for the actual books. When I factor that in, it means I actually lost money! So this was a great learning experience for me. I learned to try to come up with all my cost beforehand and perhaps charge more for books. Last Saturday I only charged $10 per book with the hopes of selling a lot. I also charged only $3 for the Priscilla the Great books with the old cover. For the festival coming up in Saturday, here are my projected expenses:
Booth rental – $100
Hotel - $40
Books – $130
Gas – $50
Extras - $50
So if I charge $15 per book, I will need to sell 25 books in order to break even. I also plan on giving discounts for multiple purchases such as 2 for $25 and 3 for $35. Maybe that way I can get more sales. To make sure this happens, I’m going to use the money I’ve allotted for extras and buy some incentives. I plan on making a basket of goodies and giving it away to one customer. Anyone who buys something will be entered to win. Since it is a children’s book festival, I plan on having some candy available in order to lure the children over to my table.
What do you need if you’re planning to attend a book fair? This is a list of things that I had which I found very helpful. Most of these things I gave away for free or added to the bag when someone bought something. I collected all these items for next to nothing by taking advantage of the Vistaprint sales.
2 Banners with my company’s name
Bags (for putting in purchased products)
All of these items really helped me look professional and added to the shopping experience for the customer. I’ll let you know Monday if I actually get my 25 sales.