Selling Books at the Summer Market

20150605_092342

We got to the square early and set up.

20150605_092330You can see the boats in the background. The Bastion Waterfront Farmer’s Market has a great location, right above the waterfront walkway in Nanaimo, a small town on Vancouver Island.

It was an interesting experience. I was there for 9 hours in total and came home exhausted and sun burned. I only sold three books (all to friends) but I did gave away lots of cards and my sales on-line were good for the next few days. Was there a correlation? Who knows?

When all the tents were set up, the whole square was filled with merchants selling everything from wine to cookies. I think a little suspense goes well with that . Several friends stopped by. I met interesting people. Marty Sharp played the piano across from me and kept things lively. The passengers off the cruise ship weren’t interested in buying anything, but they added to the ambiance.

That sums it up.

The next day, I bought a proper tent so if I do another market day I won’t get burned. But I’m not sure I will. Is it really worth it? The jury in my head is still out. Here is my scoring T-chart:

Yes                                                                                                           No

– introduced many people to my work                                            – not many people interested

– talking books is good practice                                                       – sunburn

– it’s a venue for books in a town with no indie bookstore                – $25.00/visit

– normally only 4 hours

 

What do you think? Comments?

 

 

 

 

Author: Jo-Ann Carson

SMART, SEXY, SUSPENSE ... with a touch of magic Jo-Ann Carson writes romance twisted with suspense and polished humor. Her strong characters take you on a fast and fun journey. Currently she’s writing the Gambling Ghost series, a sweet and saucy mix of fantasy, adventure and romance. guaranteed to warm your heart, make you laugh out loud and leave you craving a ghost of your own. Jo-Ann loves to interact with readers and can be found on social media: Website - http://jo-anncarson.com

34 thoughts on “Selling Books at the Summer Market”

  1. Interesting idea, Jo-Ann. It’s hard to tell how much return there is on the non-tangible things like having your books seen, or talking to people in a public space, isn’t it? Thanks for talking about your experience.

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    1. Hi Allan
      Yes, you say it well. It is a non-tangible thing. Thinking ROI numbers doesn’t really work. Thanks for stopping by and commenting.
      Best Wishes
      Jo-Ann

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  2. First off, I LOVE YOUR BANNER!! The table looks inviting (your pretty smile helps :)) and the pink highlights draw the eye. I agree with all your pluses, and think it take awhile for word to get around. The tent is a good idea, though you may need weights for the wind. The location is lovely, there are worse ways to spend a day at the waterfront 🙂
    Glad you had fun,
    Jacquie Biggar

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Jacquie
      Thank you for your compliment on my banner. Tuthor JC McKenzie gave it to me for Mother’s Day. I think it’s amazing too.
      And thank you for all your kind words.
      We’re thinking for using water jugs to stabilize the tent poles.
      You’re absolutely right. It is a fine way to spend an afternoon.
      How about you? I liked your setup at the James Bay Market in Victoria. Are you having fun?
      Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to mull this over with me. Writing friends are so special.
      Best Wishes
      Jo-Ann

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I think it’s a cool idea, Jo-Ann!

    I think it’s puts the seed in the minds of people who might come back later or go online later. I’d be willing to try it! If after a couple times you don’t see much of a return I might think about stopping, but I’d certainly give it a shot. 🙂

    Good luck and thanks for sharing your experience. If you go again, let us know how it goes. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi brnjen
      I’m getting encouraged by all the positive comments. I think I will try it again, and report.
      Maybe some of those seeds will sprout:).
      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your ideas. I really appreciate it.
      Best Wishes
      Jo-Ann

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  4. I love the pictures….beautiful lady on a spectacular day! I would guess that all those people you met will recognize your name the next time they see it and maybe they will be looking for a book???? Just a thought, maybe your friends could help…if you do it again. It would make it a little easier on you. Take care.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Marisa
      Thank you. Kind words.
      And it was a breathtaking west coast day.
      I have had one other writer interested in sharing. I think I’ll work out the bugs a bit first.
      I like your idea about building recognition. It all takes time.
      Thanks for stopping by and commenting.
      Best Wishes
      Jo-Ann

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  5. Great Banner. Makes it all look so put together. As a veteran of more craft shows than I care to remember, I have to listen to my sister who says that most of her sales come from people who go home and think about it and come to the next show to buy. Could be the way with books too. anyway, it’s good to remind people that there are writers in our midst.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Judy
      I love my banner too. Thanks. That’s Jasmin’s design.
      I like your sister’s advice. I’ll hold on to that through the next one.
      Thanks for stopping by and sharing.
      Best Wishes
      Jo-Ann

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  6. Interesting that you had an upswing in on-line sales the next day. Sometimes I think, if you have two or even three people with you, somehow that’s less intimidating than a lone person (who some folks may think) are ready to pounce on the visitor. Plus sitting with a friend can be fun.
    All in all, part of the writer’s journey. Bravo for giving it a try!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Jodie
      Are your offering?
      I think approaching two or three authors is more intimidating than approaching one. On the other hand, I think a range of books would pull more people in. Once I get settled… if I get settled… I’ll be looking around for visiting authors to join me. I do hope you will. MB said she might.
      But I need to get the bugs worked out first. You know me, Missy Organizer with stickies, zip-locks and scotch tape, never happy until I’ve looked into every possible thing that can go wrong.
      Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting.
      Best Wishes
      Jo-Ann

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  7. I think it’s great to expose yourself. When I started at the market here it wasn’t so good either. Friends bought from me at first as well lol. But then it’s really picked up. I found I had more likes on my page weekly. And with a bit of time business picked up for me definitely . I think you should try again after all you bought yourself a new tent!! Your booth looks fantastic and so do you!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh Marla!!!
      my beautiful niece, it warms my heart to have you visit my blog. Thank you.
      And thank you for your encouraging words. My books are not as alluring as your gorgeous, refinished furniture, but I get your point. I will give it another try.
      Thank your for your compliments and for visiting.
      xo
      Aunty Jo

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  8. Tablecloth with the book promo is a great eye-catcher! I’ve done local shows with author friends, and I love doing it. I’ve sold from 2-9 books each time, but what I get in author talk and connection to the local scene makes it completely worthwhile to me. Writing can be a lonely job, and it’s encouraging to see other businesses and causes making the scene along with us authors. –kate

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Kate
      It sounds like you’ve really mastered this venue. I’m on the shy side, but I’m going to give it a chance. Thanks for you encouraging words. I think selling at markets could be a good opportunity for making connections and really isn’t that what we are all about:)
      Thanks so much for stopping by and adding to the conversation.
      Best Wishes
      Jo-Ann

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  9. Thanks for this post, Jo-Ann. I am thinking of doing 2 markets in the Muskokas (tony area of Ontario cottage country) in August (my book comes out in July) They are $25 each. My book takes place in Ontario so it might be a good fit. But I worry about the travel there (2 hours each way) and the time spent and money spent. It could be depressing, if no one wanted to buy my book!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Judy
      I grew up in Toronto and have many wonderful memories of cottages in the Muskoka area. I don’t envy you the drive. I remember that too. Cars bumper to bumper on long flat highways in killer heat. Ugh.
      I think, like many of the commentators have said, we have to look beyond the money returns. (I know that’s hard). But there are less tangible rewards to sticking our faces out there.
      I’d love to hear how it goes for you. Please remember, if they don’t want your book, many, many others on-line will.
      Thanks for stopping by and commenting.
      Best Wishes
      Jo-Ann

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  10. Beautiful presentation, Jo-Ann!
    I’ve done a few craft fairs with a friend who does embroidery design. Usually it’s friends showing up to buy, but occasionally total strangers buy a book or two and that’s just thrilling when it happens!
    You have a beautiful location to work with so like the others, I’ll say give it another week… especially if you’re enjoying yourself 🙂
    Cheers!
    Kathy

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Kathryn Jane
      Good advice. Let me know if you come to the Island this summer. We could meet at the market or elsewhere.
      Thanks for stopping by and commenting.
      Best
      Jo-Ann

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  11. Wow, Jo-Ann! This is so impressive. Your booth looks fantastic. Your banner is gorgeous. And you look amazing! I think this is such a great idea (and kudos to you for doing it in such a beautifully presented way). As others have said, sales may build over time and it may be beneficial to join with other authors too. It does look like a tiring day (so that’s where sharing it with others could be fun too) but what a great way to get used to talking about your books in public. Bravo! You are such fearless author!
    Hugs
    Irene

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Irene
      Thanks for all the compliments and encouragement. I appreciate your kind words and support.
      Best Wishes
      Jo-Ann

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  12. Jo-Ann, another idea, from my husband!!!! He’s suggests that you join up NOW for the Christmas craft fairs coming up in Nanaimo in November. Your books would make lovely Christmas gifts!!! (My husband used to own a bookshop in another lifetime so he’s got some good book-sense.)
    Hugs
    Irene

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  13. Jo-Ann, you gorgeous lady author, you! Great pics! Awesome banner! I’m working on getting one to use in August when I go to a Bookfest with lots of authors and to RomCon in Denver in September. You know how all of these things go. Maybe you don’t sell so many books the first time or two, but it gets your name out there. Frankly, I’m surprised more of the cruise ship folks didn’t buy, but if they took your handouts, that the main thing.
    Long ago when we’d have campaign parties, we decided, yes it was great when lots of folks came, but even if they didn’t come, they got the mailer inviting them. You’ve put out the invitation. Who knows when they’ll pick it up.
    I love the umbrella. Can’t imagine how a paper one would be better. Use sun screen. You should put it on every day anyway. LOL Shorter time period would be better. That’s what I’ll run into at the Bookfest. We’re expected to be there the entire day. (Not sure how they factor in potty breaks!) But it’s all good and will be easier next time. Thanks for sharing. I’ll FB and Tweet, too. 🙂

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    1. Hi Marsha
      Well thank you. I do love being called gorgeous. It makes me feel young.
      My daughter made the banner for Mother’s day, so it’s extra special, not only because her design is beautiful, but because it came from her. It’s a Vistaprint banner and it feels like canvas.
      You have to share pics of yours when you have it made. I’d love to see it.
      You have two events coming up! I can’t wait to hear how they go. I’d love to get in on RomCon some year. I was too late this time. I’m heading to Ind’Tale in Palm Springs in September. I don’t know why I always pick hot, hot, hot places to visit, but that seems to be what I do (i.e., Anaheim, New York and San Antonio in July!)
      I’m going to the market this week and be happy to have the exposure.
      Thanks for all your support. You are an awesome writing buddy.
      Best Wishes
      Jo-Ann

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      1. Joanne what size is your banner? I went to Vistaprint and there are a few sizes. Yours looks amazing. Also, how big is the booth you are sitting at? Thanks! You’re an inspiration.

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  14. This was an interesting post Jo-Ann. It’s too bad that you didn’t sell more books, but this sounds like something I would do and like to do. I bet it was fun talking to the people about your book, giving out cards, etc. Someone above mentioned about Christmas fairs. Readers/everyone buys Christmas gifts. I think that’s a great idea.

    By the way, you looked great and so did your stand. I hope you have more sales next time.

    Best wishes!

    Liked by 1 person

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