If you have done it yet you might want to seriously consider filling out an application for the upcoming Local Author Expo being held at the Riverside Arts Market on April 18th. They are inviting all the local authors to “Meet the Public” discuss your books, your writing and even possibly sell a couple of copies. Of course, you will need to let your fans, family and friends know you will be attending the event so that they can come get their books autographed! The cost is only $25 per vending booth area, which is about a 10ftx10ft space that you will set up your table(s), chair(s), your books, marketing materials such as posters, bookmarks, buttons, etc. You might even want to consider setting up a canopy tent to keep the sun off and maybe even the rain. This is a “rain or shine” place. If you haven’t been to RAM in the past you might even want to visit this coming Saturday.
Check out their website: http://riversideartsmarket.com/upcoming-events/
Then have an online application that you fill out, a Special Events Agreement Form, or you can call or email the Events Coordinator and she will email them to you. But the sooner the better as you will want to post it on your social media accounts as well as your webpage. If you put a credit card on your application we were told that it will not be charged until the week after the event. Like we said, you are really attending as a great marketing tool, to meet other local authors, and to have FUN! If you sell any books then that is just a nice bonus. And really for this low price you, as an author, are getting the chance to meet almost 10,000 people in one day.
We have already purchased little business cards with links to our books online to give away from VistaPrints.com and we have created two posters with them as well. They are reasonably priced and have a fast turn-around time. Please allow at least 10 to 14 business days to be on the safe side. We were thinking about creating some flyers to hand out as well but I don’t think our budget will stretch that far. We have even asked our Events Coordinator here at Stephen Foster Folk Cultural Center State Park for some Florida State Parks books to give away as they are a nice tie-in with the book and will benefit them with more people inquiring about volunteering and visiting in the future. We haven’t heard anything on that as of yet.
We were also told to have a bowl of candy or inexpensive give-away to attract more people to our table. Now, you don’t want to go overboard with this unless you really can afford to do it. You want something that will remind them of your name and your books in the future. How much you can afford to spend is really up to you. Don’t forget you will need copies of your book(s) available as well. If you have a publisher then you will need them to send you a couple of cases. But if you are like me and you self-published then you will have to buy the books yourself. Thus, I have to have enough money on-hand to purchase enough books to have that might possibly sell but not too much as I will have to sell them elsewhere in the future. I will also have to order them enough in advance to make sure they get here before the event. I have looked all over and could not get a definitive answer as to how many to have. I did ask a couple of my fellow writers who have attended this event in the past and was told around 40 to 50 copies may be enough. And to just have about 4 or 5 on the table for display at any one time. Then I will need to buy or make two easels to hold my posters up high enough to attract passersby.
To sum it all up with materials and approximate costs:
$15 for 500 Business Cards with my name and links to my books online
$250 for about 50 copies of my book from CreateSpace
$25 Application Fee
$50 for two posters from Vistaprints
$0 for tent, tables, table cloths and chairs – also a credit card device for my iPhone to process transaction through my SquareUp account (Already own them for our crafts business)
$20 for candy to give away and whatever bowl I want to hold them in
$1 for a book stand that I found at the Dollar Store
$20 for materials to make two Easels from Lowes or Home Depot
$50 in gas to get to the event and back home again
To break even for this little marketing adventure we will have to sell at least 29 books at our event price of $15. We will be stressing that they will be getting almost $5 off per book if they purchase from us now or full price plus shipping for later. We will also tell them that the eBook version is available online at the major retailers as we hand them a card with their purchase as well. I may even throw in a discount code for those who want to purchase just the eBook online from Smashwords. They have a great coupon code app available for their authors that is simple to set-up. You can even have another code for those who purchase your paperbacks to get the eBook for FREE or a match-price of $1.99 like they do at Amazon.
Anything we sell after that is just gravy. Of course, your future possible sales will not be known until and if you see a spike in sales over the next 30 days. These can conceivably be all contributed directly to talking to potential buyers at this event and giving them your business card. And you will be able to track the discount code purchases as well to know if this was a good marketing strategy for you to use in the future. We will let you know next month how we do.
As we said, this is a Local Authors Event for Northeast Florida Writers. If you know about an event in your area that you would like to share with your fellow writers we hope you will send us the information to post here. We will even post your book signings to help with your own marketing strategies. Just use our CONTACT US form to give us the details.