Friday, 4 July 2014

Bribery is best done with cheesecake

Last week I attended my first book fair to promote Follies Past to booksellers and librarians in the Calgary area. I shared the table with my sister who was promoting her beautiful illustrated book, Grandmother's Cabin
Cover of Grandmother's Cabin - Moonbeam Award Gold Medal Winner
Me and Angela getting ready for the book fair
Packing our books
   We had ordered a sign for each of our books, and they looked great, if a little large for the space.

Our giant signage
I was encouraged by many to wear my costume to the fair, and I was going to, but in the end, I just hung one gown on a dummy by the table and lay the other across the table. There was, however, a social evening after the first day, and I was spurred on to don one of the gowns, so I did.

The gown I wore to the social, made from a secondhand punjabi my husband picked up.
Our table
On the second day of the fair, we were given the chance to present to librarians from the Marigold Library System. Thy had tables in the middle of the room, and all the book reps got to present their catalog to them. We thought they might be getting tired after 2 long days of presentations, so we decided to bribe them with a little treat. After some reflection, we settled on individual cheesecakes in mason jars. My sister put them together and they looked adorables!

Homemade cheesecakes in mason jars - I want to eat this every day!
We also gave them greeting cards with paintings from my sister's book on them. They seemed delighted with our bribes, and clearly it worked because we just got our first orders from the book fair, which came from the librarians! 

So, it never hurts to have stuff to give away when you want people to take an interest in your book. You can order all kinds of promotional materials on line, but the nice thing about the cheesecake I think was that it wasn't promotional. It was made at home, and was just delicious. 

Other tips I would share about attending a book fair is to have specially labeled copies of your book, marked as Advance Reading Copies, or Uncorrected Proofs and not for sale. Include all you and your book's contact information on the cover of these copies, including social media links, maybe a QR code. Give these copies to people, if only to browse while at their table. It is a good way to get the word out about your book, and all the reps and publishers do it as standard practice so it makes you look professional. And definitely go and talk to people, other reps as well as booksellers. It is amazing how nice people are. We learned so much just from sitting down and chatting for a bit. And of course, get as much swag as you can. Book reps bring samples of books for booksellers to look through and take to review before they decide whether to purchase them for their bookstore. If they don't give them all away, they sometimes leave some, if not all, behind. You can pick up a lot great reads, which is a nice bonus.

Melanie Kerr is the author of Follies Past: a Prequel to Pride and Prejudice

Read Chapter 1      Watch the Trailers    Order Paperback      Download eBook

No comments:

Post a Comment