WRITER’S JOURNAL – Dec. 18/17 – Book Club vs. Vendor Events
I’ve been trying to figure it out. Why are people are so reluctant to stop at my table when I’ve at a vendor event selling my book? I sit back and watch them keep a safe distance as they pass by to look at the table with the jewelry, the spices, even the bum warmers. But few will stop at the table with the book. I try to make my table look inviting. I’ve even typed out the blurb in large print so people can see if from a distance hoping to draw them closer. I purchases a large banner designed to attract people with a picture of me looking open and approachable.
But after 5 events this past November and December, and countless hours spent sitting behind a vendor table, I still can’t figure it out. I wonder if eye contact will scare people away, or should I reach out and speak first? I notice someone else who offers a chance at a prize for every item purchased. But how can I do that when I can’t sell enough books to make pay for the table? I watched as someone else did a demonstration that attracted people to their table. But how does one demonstrate writing a book? Then someone suggested I needed the right vendor event. Yet, whether I’m at a school vendor fair or at an event that’s all writer’s, the result is still the same.
Then the other day I read these statistics that, though surprising to me, put things in perspective:
I’ve seen this statistic reported on several sites (for example, Those Who Don’t Build Must Burn and Want To Do Meaningful Work? Keep Reading. Literally), along with a list of other startling numbers.
- 33% of high school graduates never read another book for the rest of their lives.
- 42% of college graduates never read another book after college.
- 80% of U.S. families did not buy or read a book last year.
- 70% of U.S. adults have not been in a bookstore in the last five years.
- 57% of new books are not read to completion.
The answer seems clear. Vendor events are not the best place for me to sell my books. I need to focus my efforts in other areas. I do much better with book clubs. The ones I have been invited to have built in readers, and they love to support local authors. When I sit at their table, it’s to answer questions about how I came up with the idea to write my book. They want to know what the title “River of the Stick Wavers” means. And the part I like best is when they share their favorite parts of my book. And to add icing to the cake, they tell me they can’t wait for the next one to come out.
Book Clubs are by far a much better venue than vendor events. When I leave a vendor event, I feel so blue, But when I leave a book club, I feel 100% happier because someone not only read my book, they enjoyed it. So if you’re a first-time writer who is trying to market your book at vendor fairs and it’s not working, don’t worry. It has nothing to do with your ability as a writer. You just need to find the right audience.