Though I hate to fast forward to Christmas, today’s tip for how to sell more of your self-published books addresses the opportunity for you to take part in local Christmas shopping events.
While most of us are still playing catch-up after our summer holidays, behind closed doors all over the country fundraising groups are planning festive fairs (or, more painfully, fayres) for November and December.
I’m not sure whether it’s a by-product of the recession, but these seasonal sales seem to have sprung up all over the place in the last few years. Our small village hosted three in the same week in last November, and all were well supported by local residents keen to deal with local producers and to keep their Christmas shopping close to home.
The Right Product For Shoppers
This kind of event is usually keen to attract stallholders who:
- offer items not usually available in shops
- can provide a personalised service of some sort
- fall into a modest price bracket of around £10 or less
- can put on an appealing display of their products
Shoppers attending such events are generally keen to find at least one thing to buy, to show their support for whatever the chosen cause is (local church roof fund, PTA, hospital friends, etc). They come with money in their pocket, and they’re not afraid to spend it. They’re often offered a free drink on arrival to ease the process of parting with their cash! In short, they are a sitting target for you to charm.
Unlike big craft fairs and trade exhibitions in city centres, small-scale events of this kind tend not to charge much for their stall. They’re more on the level of a car boot pitch than a commercial stand. You therefore don’t need to sell many copies to cover your costs. They don’t make great demands on your time, either, typically taking place in an evening or at a weekend, so they’re easy to fit in around your day-job, if you have one.
The Right Event For You
As an indie author with a stack of new, shiny, beautiful books to display, your product ticks all the right boxes:
- your book is unlikely to be one that they’ve come across before in a big bookshop, so it will have novelty value
- it can be easily personalised if you’re prepared to write a signature or personal dedication in the front of every copy you sell
- it’s likelly to retail at an affordable price
- it looks great stacked neatly on a table, maybe with a few relevant props as talking points for passers-by, and if you make it clear that you are the author of the book on display, you’re bound to intrigue browsers who will like to stop and talk to you about your achievement
Such events are also a great place to chat up other stallholders and get the low-down on other local events that they attend. You may even sell a book or two to fellow traders, to help them while away their evening!
Even if, like me, you really don’t want to start thinking about the festive season until after we’ve got Halloween and Guy Fawkes’ Night out of the way, it’s worth keeping an eye open for Christmas shopping events near you. This is a great, low-stress way to build your local profile. It will also increase your confidence in chatting to strangers about your book on safe, home territory. The experience will prepare you for larger scale events such as bookstore signings and trade fairs.
So good luck with seeking out an appropriate event near you – and, dare I say it, happy Christmas!
Do you have any tips to share from your experience of Christmas shopping evenings? If so, I’d love to hear from you – please leave a comment!