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The Magic of Cross-Promotion How To Do It Frugally Style

A Retrospective of the Doings at the LA Times Festival of Books

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Question on Book Fair Book Sales Answered

Hi Carolyn,

Thanks again for all of your helpful emails about the festival. My book, Running From Coyote: A White Family among the Navajo, is receiving some great reviews. You can see Tony Hillerman's comment, as well as the Discovery Kirkus Review on my web site:

I have a couple of questions.

QUESTION: First, I plan to bring 40 books with me for the signing. In your experience, is that too many, too few? If I need more, I need to order them now from the publisher.

ANSWER: You'll be getting a notice on this soon. But yes, 40 would probably do it. It is a hard thing to know, however, because the LA Times/UCLA Festival of Books attracts 135,000 visitors (among them directors, producers, etc) so anything can happen. So much depends on:

1. the title
2. the author (if he/she is recognized by some and if he/she has learned/knows how to relate to people walking by)
3. the amount of promotion the author has done both in general and for the signing
4. the price of the book.

Also, keep in mind that, though we would all like to sell lots of books at this fair, fairs in general are about, yep! exposure and credibility among readers. So, think sales, certainly. But keep in mind that what you are really after is to be associated with this fair (LA Times and UCLA and Authors' Coalition!) and to use it has a vehicle to contact bookstores, contact media, contact libraries, contact readers.

Let the world know that you will be featured author at the AC booth at the LA Times/UCLA Festival of Books!

QUESTION: Secondly, I have two laminated 11x17 inch "Meet the Author" posters which I plan to add an 8x11 inch author photo. I will hang these on the booth. Can I use these instead of the requested 14x16 inch poster? I will pick them up by closing on Sunday.

ANSWER: Yes, but you would need to get some grommets in them so we can string wire through them. That's how they get hung. And we do the hanging, around the top of the booth. If you want to keep one to use when you're signing (stand it on the table near your book display, as an example) that would work. One for the permanent display in the booth (hung by wire) and one for your display as you sign. )

QUESTION: I was planning on bringing my own cash box and handle my own sales. Is that how it's done? That's not a problem for me. I have some old fashion candy give-a-ways for my 1950's memoir. I will also bring my 3x4 foot Navajo rug for display on the signing table.

ANSWER: Yes, that's it exactly. Each author is in charge of his/her own little table area, his/her own book sales.

COMMENT: Finally, I will provide ten books for your give-a-way program.

RESPONSE: That the booth offers a f r e e book to people who buy books from any of the authors (while supplies last) obviously makes it possible for people to see your book even when it isn't your turn at signing. Thank you. That's a nice incentive for our readers to buy others' books and so appreciated by all. Thank you, Dana.

I will have the items listed in your last email ready to mail to you around the first of April. I look forward to meeting you.

Danalee Buhler

SUGGESTION: This blog is made available to all authors so they can learn more about planning for fairs. Go back and see what we've done in the past, how they might be applied to any fair or booth you might be planning.
Blogging by Carolyn Howard-Johnson, founder of Authors' Coalition ( Learn more at both the AC site and Carolyn's website, and her blogs:

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