Travel expos and events are the place for Stan
Live events are a lot of fun – but they’re also a LOT of work. Depending on who you are, and how willing you are to engage with the audience, though, they can be highly profitable. One great benefit is that the prospective readers get to meet and interact with the authors up close and in person. And authors who embrace selling are unafraid to ask these folks to buy their books. The good ones sell books. The ones who prefer to sit behind their tables with their heads in their phones may as well not even make the effort to be there.
Over the past year or so, I saw two authors do a bang-up job of making the most of their festival appearances. The first, about whom I posted the following on the NO EXCUSES 3-Week Author Blog Challenge, is Dustin Hall:
I met a man at the 2015 Coolidge Days event, in Coolidge, Arizona, a tiny town about 60 miles southeast of Phoenix. He was an author with 1 book to sell. The booth cost less than $50 for the 3-day event, and by the time I met him midway through the third day, he’d already sold more than 50 books at $15 each. Hotel, food, gas expenses well covered, that’s an incredible return on his investment. To his credit, he was more than willing to talk to every person who walked past his booth – an essential key to his success.
The other was a gal named R.K., whom I met at the Los Angeles Book Festival this past April. The topic of her book is much closer to mine: Travels with a Road Dog: Hitchhiking Along the Roads of the Americas. Now I say R.K. did a bang-up job because I personally witnessed her sell about a dozen books in the 20 minutes or so that I visited her booth – but I have no proof whatsoever that she actually came out ahead, monetarily, because a booth at the LA Book Festival is expensive, coming in at $1050 for the 2016 event. But that’s a LOT of sales in a very short time – so if she was that successful over the rest of the weekend – pouring rain notwithstanding – she might have made most or all of her money back. And she definitely gained some important visibility. Not to mention that I bought her book. I also loved one aspect of her décor – the use of a plastic shower curtain featuring a large map of the United States as a drape for her booth.
As the coordinator of the Phoenix Publishing and Book Promotion Meetup, I’ve done my share of events. Some have been blessedly beneficial (most prominently, the 2015 Phoenix Festival of the Arts). Others were so much work, requiring travel and an overnight stay, yet yielded literally nothing – except for me buying more books. The Kingman KABAM was one such event; I’d never do that one again.
I think the key is choosing the right events. One key might be following Dustin’s lead – and ours at the Phoenix Festival – by being the only booksellers at a given event. With little to no competition, if the books are properly targeted to the audience, authors can do very well.
With that in mind, guess what’s going on my 2017 calendar right now?
It also looks like AAA has all kinds of travel events and expos. I’ll have to pace myself and choose wisely, but this could definitely be a good direction to go. Stay tuned, because we’ll certainly let you know as we book these events, starting in Summer 2017!
Read the FIRST 5 Chapters of Stan Finds Himself on the Other Side of the World.
LAURA ORSINI is an author and self-publishing consultant who works with other authors who want to change the world. From concept to publication to the first-time author’s book launch, her expertise will help you make a better book and find more readers. Friend her on Facebook, follow her on Twitter, and check out her pins on Pinterest.