How to Survive a Book Festival

On March 12-13, Clark Lohr and Tim Moore graciously shared their booth at the Tucson Festival of Books with me and two other writers—Jackie Sereno and Robert Dukelow. It was my first experience at pitching my own book for sale, and it was an eye-opener. After consulting with my other booth authors, I came up with a list to help you prepare for a book festival.

•Bring enough books but not too many—you have to carry them
• Have the price clearly marked on your book or have a price list
• Bring a stand for your book
• Bring a poster, keeping in mind display may be a problem (size, how to hang or set up—stands, clips, Velcro)
• Have change
• Bring pens and a magic marker
• Name plate or name tent
• Have one of your devices set up to take charge cards (and be prepared for many malfunctions)
• Have cards or bookmarks or pamphlets that include your webpage and how to buy your book online
• Consider giveaways like pens, parasols, notepads, fans, candy, balloons (in addition to bookmarks)
• How about a promotion, like a coupon (be careful to coordinate with website where coupon will be used)
• Have a short and long sales pitch
• Listen up and work on a quickie sales pitch for others in the booth (what?? I’m there to sell my book. Be nice.)
• A sign-up sheet for people to receive your newsletter
• A notebook for reminders, like emails of those who agreed to review your book
• Dress in layers (prepare for cold, heat, and wind)
• Consider a hat, and, if want to attract attention, a sun umbrella
• Comfortable shoes
• Sunscreen
• Water
• Google “how to stand for hours”
• Luggage cart or transport cart/truck that you can manage
• Emergency kit: scissors, strapping tape, bungee cords, rope, screwdriver, hammer, paper, extra pens and markers, Velcro (you’re all set to hog tie reluctant buyers)