Here Comes a Book for the Bride; or, Does It Pay to Exhibit at an Expo?

May 2006
by Joan Wai

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Shortly after I published my first title, 100+ Wedding Games: Fun & Laughs for Bachelorette Parties, Showers, and Receptions, I was brainstorming ways to reach more brides and their best friends. A bride expo seemed an obvious opportunity. Hundreds of bridal shows are held every year. Studying the vendor listings from many different shows, I found a trio of magazine publishers with booths, but only one book publisher, and that one was selling a title that’s now out of print. Could I have thought of a book marketing channel that nobody else had recognized? Or did everybody else know something I didn’t?

A Google search failed to turn up any sales figures for these expos. The expo organizers couldn’t provide any sales information either. I did get prices, though; at various wedding expos in my city they ranged from $250 for a half-booth to more than $1,000 for a full-sized booth in a premium location.

Reasoning that brides would be drawn to a show with a large variety of vendors, I focused on the largest, the BrideWorld Expo, with 190 booths at the Los Angeles Convention Center. Traditionally, wedding expos are held on Sundays, but BrideWorld took place on both Saturday and Sunday, so it was like getting two days for the price of one. In addition, the staff was responsive to my many questions and seemed genuinely interested in helping me. That sealed the deal.

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