This is only a small part of the line to the blueberry-pancake breakfast at the festival Saturday, 8:00 a.m. The rest of the line stretched almost three blocks the other direction. You see that couple kinda facing you on the left? They were directly across from our booth, The Canopy Bookstore.
That’s right: everyone who wanted pancakes had to pass by our store. Talk about exposure!
Next to us on one side was a cute little lady with a ton of stuff made in bulk in China and appealing to a variety of Americans–paper parasols, wide-brimmed hats, sun glasses, T-shirts. Yeah. She got more customers than we did. But compared to the guy on the other side of us, who had wooden cowboy figures he’d carved himself, we did great. He didn’t make a sale all day.
I can’t really complain, though. We had a terrific morning. Everywhere we go, we run into other authors/wannabe authors, and Saturday was no different. For them, I always point out Terry Burns’s A Writer’s Survivor Guide to Getting Published. I sell one of his every time; Saturday, I sold two.
Not every book is going to sell at every event, and it’s rare that someone (other than me, but I have an unfair advantage) will sell more than one at a single event. Terry’s sells at every event, and K.M. Weiland’s Behold the Dawn usually sells. This is the first time it didn’t. (I figured if I told her in public she couldn’t hit me. I have witnesses! 😀 )
I’ve come to the conclusion that readers are primarily indoor folks. As the temperature rose, the sales declined. We went three hours straight with barely anyone coming by. At the first lull, MSB remedied the situation by buying me lunch. There’s something about a vendor with a hunk o’ hamburger in her mouth and mayo lipstick that’s appealing to customers. I made quite a few sales in between snitched french fries. During the longest stretch of inactivity, he bought a funnel cake. Apparently powdered sugar-coated fingers don’t hold the same appeal. We were able to polish off the cake with nary an interruption. Don’t know whether to be happy or sad about that one.
Among the folks who stopped were self-published authors who thoroughly enjoyed shooting the breeze about how wonderful their books were, but didn’t bother to buy any from the store; a cute young lady who had her mother take pictures of the covers to the books she wanted to buy so she could “get them online” (and while I’m happy for the authors, there goes my 20%. Gee, thanks, kid); and one unknown person who liked my book so much, s/he lifted it and carried it off. Thank heavens it was my book–I was only out $5.00. If it’d been one of my author’s books, I’d have to pay for it.
But there were some truly terrific people who stopped. One couple bought four books and spent over $45. I didn’t get their names, but they were my favorite folks of the day. Another was someone who sounds like she has a nose for writing and editing. We exchanged email addresses, and I hope to keep up with her.
For me personally, out of the ten copies of Give the Lady a Ride I autographed ahead of time, nine sold. All ten are gone, of course, but nine sold.
We have one more festival this summer, and I’m looking into fall events. Even though we waffle about keeping the store, we seem to enjoy it enough to keep planning for the future. All in all, we spent over $140 to work this event and netted $50 for ourselves (my net sales plus 20% of my authors’ sales). Let me tell ya, this is a labor of love–we’re not going to get rich off of this, but we really get a kick out of it. Besides, how can ya pass up funnel cake?!