How to Work a Book Festival So It Works for You

January 2006
by Patricia L. Fry

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If you have a book to
promote, sooner or later you’ll probably participate in a book festival. There
are hundreds of book and author festivals held throughout the United States
each year where you can rent a booth and sell books. And if you belong to an
association that rents booths at book festivals for its members, you may be
able to get booth space at a savings.

You can also secure booths at
trade fairs, flea markets, and art and craft fairs. I had a booth at our county
fair one year and sold nearly 200 copies of my then-brand-new local-history
book.

How many books can you sell? We’d
all like a guarantee before getting involved in a book festival. The truth is
that you might walk away $1,000 richer or noticeably poorer, given the costs of
participating. Your success depends on several factors. While no one can
second-guess the public’s book-buying habits, you can take some steps to make
success more likely.

Choose
the right venue.
If I’m doing a
book festival or craft fair close to home, I always bring my local history
books. If I’m out of town, these books won’t be of much interest to festival
goers. When I’m participating in the SPAWN booth (that’s the group I head,
Small Publishers, Artists and Writers Network), I bring my
writing/publishing-related books.

I

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