So far, I’ve never attended a book fair, but will probably do so here in Greece. So, I found this guest post by Elaine Bennett of particular interest. I hope you, too, enjoy it! Elaine is a marketing specialist-turned blogger, currently writing for Bizzmark Blog.
4 Tips for a Successful Book Fair
First off, congrats on publishing your work! In the today’s world of fast-paced digital consumption, when too many will rather opt for a quick llama video over a complex, mind-boggling selection of short stories, writing still prevails as an art form that deserves praise. Now that you’re done with the difficult part, writing the darn thing, how you approach your marketing strategy and your preparation for upcoming book fairs may make a big difference in your book’s success.
Book fairs remain very relevant for authors as well as publishers when it comes to promotion, getting in touch with your readers, connecting with your audience, and of course, increasing your potential to sell. That is precisely why you need to take a careful, thought-out plan and put it into action for any events such as a book fair and make the most of this networking opportunity to generate some buzz and some profit, too!
1. Create the perfect pitch
Perhaps the greatest challenge for a writer would be to ask them to condense the essence of their entire book into a mere 30 seconds. However, that’s precisely what you need to do in order to make it appealing, interesting, and engaging enough for your book fair. Unlike a typical sales pitch, your approach to potential readers and buyers should be based on the content of your book. Storytelling is already one of your best qualities, so it’s time to use it to benefit your book.
Try to think from the perspective of a reader. What is the key subject covered by your story, and how does that relate to your readers? Are there any characters they’d love to meet? Or have you covered a historic event that has shaped up the world as we know it? Whatever it may be, you should aim to keep your elevator pitch short and sweet, and preferably so enthralling that they’ll simply have to ask questions afterward.
2. Offer some valuable freebies
From the readers’ perspective, one of the main reasons they attend book fairs is to enjoy the many discounts, coupons, and freebies they are bound to receive. So, you shouldn’t disappoint! While this may seem like a simple way to attract temporary attention, the right approach can actually turn a physical item into a conversation piece for your readers.
If you brand your promotional items with certain quotes from your book, or with its title, colors, or with symbols you’ve used within the stories, you can get your readers’ attention. What’s more, they will be more likely to go home, show their families and friends what they’ve got, and perhaps get them interested in the book, too! Hand out notebooks, pens or coffee mugs for those long reading sessions, and you’ll get them hooked in no time.
3. Theme-prep your booth
Just like the characters in your book and the topics that you cover, your booth should be a mirror image of the world you’ve created in your work. Can you imagine a Harry Potter book fair booth sans the music in the background, theme colors, and wands? Of course you can’t. Even if your own book has yet to deserve the fame and the popularity of the Potter saga, you should help your readers get to know your work through visuals, sound, and other elements within your booth.
Consider this as another opportunity to help your work stand out before your readers get a chance to learn more about your book. Whether you have people dress up as characters from your book to play out a dialogue or two, or you use different fabrics and items to help them travel to a different era, consider imagination as your only limit. The same one you’ve used to create your book is there to help your work come to life before your readers’ eyes at the fair.
4. Encourage sign-ups
Of course, your elevator pitch is far from the only means of communication with your readership. In fact, the more channels of communication you use, the greater your chances will be to get more people interested. For example, if people start asking about your book and you get a chance to explain the main plot, you can ask them to subscribe to your newsletter for discount updates and notifications of your future work.
Put forth a sign-up sheet for everyone to see, so that even readers who don’t end up talking to you have a chance to put down their email address for your newsletter. Even if they haven’t bought your book at the fair, sending them a thank-you note for visiting your booth and offering them a discount through a link can be another way to market your book without being too pushy. This is a great chance for you to add social media buttons as well and promote your book fair presence before, during, and well after the fair is done.
Writers know how challenging it can be to get the word out, especially at a book fair, where all of your competitors will be present. However, use these simple tips, and you’ll increase your chances of getting more sign-ups, more sales, and attracting more readers to follow your work in the future!