Last Saturday the Big Valley Authors Festival sponsored by the Hanford Branch of the King County Library was held in the Hanford Mall. Hanford is only an hour and half drive from where I live and many of the authors who came are really good friends.
We were in a great place, tables and chairs all set up for us, but at first the foot traffic was slow. When it picked up I did quite well selling books, talking to people and handing out lots and lots of cards.
One thing I noticed with some of the authors, they didn't stay with their books, instead they were up and off talking with other authors even when people paused at their table. Afterwards, I heard some say sales were slow.
I've written blogs about this on my own site: http://marilynmeredith.blogspot.com if you want to sell your books at a book or craft festival you have to be available to do so. You need to engage people as they pass by and certainly if they are actually looking at your books.
One author came to talk to me and stayed and stayed--I finally told her someone might want to talk to her, she should go back to her table. She left mine, but moved on to the next author. I don't really understand this behavior.
Before the event began and I was all set up, I made the rounds and talked to each author. I even bought two books. Once the mall opened I stayed behind my table (except for potty breaks and when I was gone my husband was there and he's very good at talking about my books and handing out my cards--usually keeps people entertained until I return.)
I know I sold a lot more books than most people there--and not because my books are better, but because I was available to talk about them. I even sold a book to a Japanese family who could hardly speak English. They were charming and were excited to meet a "real" author.
I hope they repeat the event next year. The first one, last year, was held in a Veteran's Memorial Building and it was good too. The difference there was the people who visited came explicitly to see the authors as nothing else was going on that day.
After the event, a few of us went out to eat together--always fun. We had an interesting conversation about author behavior and those we probably will never buy another book from because of rudeness. That will be another blog post.
All in all, it was a great day.