Monday, April 13, 2015

Marketing At Fairs and Festivals - Summer Time




Authors must do their own marketing. The easiest way is to sell books at fairs and festivals. If you are about to go to a festival, or a big flea market, what are you going to want to have with you? This is a fairly comprehensive list of the things I have packed in my truck.

  1. A banner (or sign) - I bought a vinyl banner at Vista Print for less than $10 with shipping. It has enough information on it to catch the eye. Put in at people's eye level, make it colorful.
  2. A table, with a tablecloth - It makes a big impact to have the table covered. Also in the fall and winter, you can put a tea-light heater under the table to keep your feet from freezing. 
  3. Display items – business card holder, book display, signage. Up off the table is better than flat.
  4. Business cards - book marks, post cards something with your name and website or Face Book page on it. Sites where your books can be purchased.
  5. A comfortable chair or two – folding sling chairs may not work if you have a bad back. I've got a very old folding wooden chair that weighs more, but it supports my back, which means less pain.
  6. Canopy with sides and weights - Yes, invest in sides and weights. The canopy makes you MUCH more visible. The sides will protect you (and your books!) from the sun, the wind and the rain. The weights can be made for the tent, or cement blocks, or bags filled with sand.
  7. Hand-washing supplies. Wet wipes work great and can be bought in small quantities. I use one of those laundry soap containers with the spout, filled with water, a dash of soap and an old towel. For all day events this is perfect.
  8. Water – thirst becomes a problem when you’re talking all day. Soda is great, but there’s as much sugar in the average soda as there is in a candy bar.
  9. Sunscreen – a full day the sun and wind will leave your skin sun and wind burnt.
  10. Hat & Sunglasses – The hat protects your face and shades your eyes. Sunglasses prevent headaches.
  11. Little stuff in baggies - Twine, tape and scissors. Trash bags, Kleenex, wet-wipes, index cards, magic marker to sign books. Aspirin, band-aids,
  12. Shower curtains rings and clips. If your tent didn't come with sides, a shower curtain will work to shade you from the sun or the rain.
  13. Money supplies - Apron, money clip, cash box with lock and receipt book. I keep my cash in a money clip so the wind doesn't blow it away. I have the cash box for change, the receipt book, the magic marker and extra business cards.
  14. Food supplies - Napkins, plastic silverware, coffee cups, and drink cups.
  15. Credit Card reader - I use Square on my phone. It works either with, or without phone reception. There are other companies, find what you like. They work on phones, laptops and tablets.
  16. Heater - The 3 tea-light terracotta pot heaters are good enough for the average spring/fall day. Make sure it's sturdy enough to take a nudge from your feet if you forget it's there. I don't recommend the ones that use metal to hold two or more pots together. The metal gets too hot for a busy place.
  17. Small cooler – cold drinks taste better. And it can be used as a side table or just a place to stash things so you aren’t tripping over clutter. Snacks help to keep fatigue at bay.
  18. Comfort items - chap stick, bathroom tissue, sun screen(!) sun hats or extra shoes. Temperatures vary over the course of a day. An extra shirt or sweater, a pair of sandals for a day that starts chilly and heats up. Or if the day cools down, or it rains.
This sounds like a lot of stuff. But the devil is in the details - as my grandmother used to say. Kleenx and napkins can double as toilet paper. Twine, well, 'a world without string is chaos.' I use twine every time I go out for something.

Everyone has different requirements. But after 4 years of weekly markets and festivals this is what I carry.

Care to add anything?

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