The Canopy Bookstore at the Blueberry Festival

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?!

About Linda W. Yezak

Author/Freelance Editor/Speaker (writing and editing topics).
This entry was posted in Personal, The Canopy Bookstore. Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to The Canopy Bookstore at the Blueberry Festival

  1. I know it’s probably cliche to say, “Hey, you’re getting out there and having fun! That’s the important part!” But cliche or not, it’s true. And while it may not be profitable right now, I bet you’re learning, and down the road you’ll know the best places to set up camp and get the most of your investment. And I, for one, am proud of ya! 🙂

    On a different note, your comment, “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,” reminds me of the speaking gigs I’ve done. There is always at least one author, either aspiring or self-published, who comes up to me and pitches their book in one way or another–either in hopes I can help them get it published, or if it’s published they ask me to buy it–but they don’t buy mine. Sigh.

    Anyway, I’ve been enjoying these bookstore updates :).

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    • Linda Yezak says:

      Kat–keep an eye on your Amazon sales page. Yours was one of the ones that young lady took a picture of! Angel generated quite a bit of attention, and several folks lit up when I told them it’s available on Kindle. Watch for East Texas sales!

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  2. joannesher says:

    It DOES sound like fun. Love reading these, Linda!

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  3. Someone stole a book? How low is that?! :/ I’m sorry, of course, that Behold couldn’t nab a buyer, but I don’t expect I’ll hold it against you. 😉

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  4. patgarcia says:

    Hi Linda,
    Thank you for the candid view of what it means to go on promotional tours for your book once it is published. I am in the process of planning what to do and how to do becaue I live in Germany but as a native speaker of English write my books in English and want to appeal the the English-speaking audience. Thus, your candid view of what happened has helped me widen my perspective.
    Thank you once again and keep at it, Lady.
    Ciao,
    Patricia

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    • Linda Yezak says:

      Thanks for stopping by, Pat. Believe me, this isn’t a promotional tour. All I’m doing is selling my book and those of a few friends at festivals. Later this summer, I’ll be joining a group from my region in Texas to go to signings, and I’m looking forward to that, but this isn’t really the same thing. No one is coming to the festival for the soul purpose of buying my book . . . darn it. 😀

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  5. ceciliamariepulliam says:

    Wow, Linda. Sounds like selling books is a lot like the Bridal shows I used to attend when I owned my floral shop. Yet, they were fun, and people did recognize our name. May well have paid off later. At any rate, we did have fun. At least the flowers were harder for someone to walk off with…Thank goodness for the couple who evidently loved books enough to buy some!

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