The Canopy Bookstore

How do you like our logo? It looks better in “person.”

I think I’ve mentioned before that MSB and I so enjoyed selling books at the festivals last year, that we’re going to go to more festivals this year and take along with us more titles from more authors.

Although we’re both looking forward to this, we’re well aware it’s a losing venture. Even with the 20% we get from each book we sell–even if we sold every book from every author we carried–we won’t cover vendor fees and travel expenses unless I sell out of my own books every time too. If I do, depending on the vendor’s fee and the price of gas, we may be lucky enough to break even.

That’s why we’re considering this a labor of love.

I started preparing for this year’s festival season by asking on the ACFW main loop for submissions from authors with small publishers or who have self-published, and I’m reading each submission. I know bookstores don’t do that, but I have several reasons:

  1. 1. Distribution is hard for these authors outside the internet. When we concentrate only on internet sales, we’re dismissing a huge chunk of the reading public who wouldn’t know how to shop online if they wanted to. (Yes, believe it or not, there are people who have lives outside of cyberspace.)
  2. I want the name of our bookstore to be associated with the best books. Carrying only small- and self-pubbed authors presents a risk to this goal.
  3. Consumers ask questions. If they’re gonna pay cash and carry around a book–or bunches of books–on a hot day with the sun beaming off the asphalt and enough people to kick the temp up another ten degrees, they want to be sure it’s money well spent. A buyer can look at a crafty little gizmo and see what they’re getting, and be satisfied with it–they can’t do that with a book. So they ask questions, and I like to answer them. I believe that being familiar with the titles we carried last year helped sell the books.

I’m tickled pink with the number of submissions I received during my call in December. We have a terrific variety written by both male and female authors with audiences ranging from children up. It’s going to be hard to limit myself to ten titles, the limit I think, that we can handle in the small space we have to sell in (not to mention having to carry these suckers from where we have to park to where we can set up!). So far, I’ve gone through three of them, and two are terrific, and I’ll share more about them later in the week.

The kicker is, I don’t know how many festivals we’ll be able to go to. A couple that I had in mind don’t allow “manufactured items”; in other words, they’re for arts and crafts only. It’s a shame the books don’t fall under the category of “art.” They should. Others we’d hoped to get into have vendor fees from $250 and up, and we aren’t even looking at the big festivals. Some of these fees I’ll probably pay because of the location–places MSB and I have lived and still have friends and connections.

The first festival, if we can get on, is in Walnut Springs, Texas. Get this: Walnut Springs Rattlesnake Roundup! I’m excited about this place, not just because I live in Texas and have never been to a rattlesnake roundup, but also because some of our books are westerns–historical, romance, non-fiction–written by such authors as K.M. Weiland, Heidi Thomas, Terry Burns, and, of course, me.

The Canopy Bookstore is one of the things in my “all-things-writing” career that MSB and I can do together. He can’t edit with me, although he serves as a great resource periodically when I have logistics questions, he can’t write my books for me, he can’t do my cyber-promotions no matter how much I’d love to hand that job off to someone. But he can sell. And he does enjoy working these festivals. We’ll probably learn through trial and error how to turn this into a winning venture for everyone, but right now, we’re just looking to have fun.

About Linda W. Yezak

Author/Freelance Editor/Speaker (writing and editing topics).
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14 Responses to The Canopy Bookstore

  1. Congratulations on this, Linda. I’m a huge proponent of joint marketing and you’re taking this far beyond what I’m prepared to do. Good luck to everyone!

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  2. Joanne Sher says:

    I just LOVE the logo (even not “in person.” LOL). Praying that this goes well. Sound great!

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  3. Congratulations! What a great idea!

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  4. I love the logo! Did you design it yourself?

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  5. Linda Yezak says:

    Thanks, everyone! We’re really looking forward to this!

    @Katie: The design was the joint effort of MSB, me, and Anna O’Brien, who designed my book cover. The entire banner is just as cute as it can be, with a young man reading under a tree on one side, this girl on the other, and tree branches stretched over the store name in the middle. I can’t wait to get it up and post pictures of it!

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  6. I do love the logo and your idea, Linda. As you mentioned it is a good way to have fun, make new connections and renew old ones. Sounds like fun to me. My late husband was into wood working and I did fine art. We took our work to numerous fairs and sold out every time. It was fun and profitable for us. Yours may well turn into more profit as things progress. I am looking forward to hearing your reports!

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  7. Walk says:

    The logo is awesome. The image of laying in a hammock reading should inspire book sales. Good luck and have fun.

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  8. Good luck with your logo and book selling idea. As I was reading this I had two thoughts that might be useful. True, you may have space for ten books, but is it possible to take orders for other books and mail them from home? Or have samples of the other books and let people see them and see if they like them?
    The other thing – re the arts and crafts fair – what about an artsy line of book marks and if the person is eager to have a book to go with the bookmark – then you have them for sale?

    Heather

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    • Linda Yezak says:

      Heather–they say great minds think alike! I’ve asked some of the authors were going to carry to send their promo items for their other books. I think that’ll help. Thanks for your input!

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  9. Linda, is it too late to enter my Revolutionary War historical romantic suspense novel, The Chamomile, for consideration for the Canopy Bookstore? My publisher, Ingalls Publishing Group, is not CBA, but I have been a member of ACFW for many years, and they are approving my ad for the Journal. I belong to the Colonial American Christian Writers group and their blog Colonial Quills. Here’s a review of my novel that a CACW member posted on Amazon and B&N — Where do I begin? I loved The Chamomile so much that it will likely be on my favorite list for all of my 2012 novel reading.
    From the first chapter, I was totally caught up in the characters and their precarious situation as Patriots in British-occupied South Carolina in 1780. Author Susan Craft artfully wove an intense and realistic story filled with situations that left you breathless and characters that captured your heart. It takes an extremely well written story to move me to tears and I had to grab my tissues more than once.
    Throughout the novel is a strong theme of trusting God in the midst of terrible circumstances. The maturing of faith in the characters is inspiring. And each character, whether major or minor, was so well portrayed that I felt I knew them.
    Not only was this novel well written but the historical detail was enlightening and enriching. It was obvious that Ms. Craft spent years on her skillful research. She painted a picture of Colonial America that is still playing like a movie in my mind.
    Even if you usually don’t read historical fiction, I would still highly recommend this read. You will truly not want to put it down. I can only pray that Ms. Craft has a sequel in the works.
    Thank you for your consideration of my request. Blessings, Susan Craft

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  10. What a great logo! Makes me yearn for summer and time to read a good book!
    Way to go!
    Jackie

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