Can book festivals work for me?
Since I don't have wide distribution, I decided this is the year for trying to sell books at book festivals. Last weekend I participated in the Kerrytown Book Festival in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Five Sisters-in-Crime members (four of us with books) had a booth at the festival. I didn't sell a single book. I belive the other three participants sold between one and three books each. Slightly underwhelming.
The other side of book festivals, though, is getting the author's name out there. Peg Herring, another Michigan author that participated, made little scrolls with a book cover from each of us on one side and a little bit of bio and contact information on the other. They were a big hit -- all 200 she had printed were gone by the end of the day and everyone was excited to get one little scroll instead of four more bookmarks!
Will it pay off? Only time will tell.
Michigan is a large state with scattered writers and SinC members. A hidden benefit of this book featival was the opportunity for four Michigan Mystery Writers (our title at the festival) who all belong to SinC but don't know each other had a chance to spend a day getting acquainted.
My next attempt to sell books at a festival will be at the Woman's Fair in Dayton, Ohio on the 21st and 22nd of September. I have joined a Book Expo booth at the fair, where twelve authors will be showcasing their work. It's a lot farther from home and a lot more expensive to attend, so I hope to come home with fewer books than I take with me this time!