Tips 2B A Vendor & Avoid Potholes
Many of you that come on this blog are writers. So I want to share with you some experiences I’ve had to help you avoid the potholes of writing or enhance what you’re probably already good at. Today I want to talk about those times when you go to book signings, conferences, or venues where you can make a name for yourself. I recently was invited to be one of the vendors at a state library conference. These were some of the potholes.
- Unloading all my equipment, books and dazzle was in a terrible location. I know you’re going to laugh at this. I had to park on a slope so when I opened my hatch of my SUV things tumbled out just as a breeze picked up. I had the good sense to have already gotten my wagon-cart out but as I sucked in my breath at bookmarks and postcards taking flight my wagon started down the hill. My legs were cramped from a long drive so you can imagine the humorous, almost animated picture, of me running after it. My thought was, “Will the car be next?”
- Book companies were there doing book dumps for almost nothing, to clear their inventory. So who do you think they bought from?
- Because of state cutbacks in school library funding, the attendance went from thousands to around 500. Can’t spend what you don’t have.
- In a concrete basement in a hotel your “square” for taking credit cards may not work.
- Location. Location. Location. I was new so I got put in the back where it was easy to ignore me.
But honestly there were things I did right.
- My display was very eye-catching and drew people in to talk to me. They thought it clever that my business card (Lipstick & Danger) had a lipstick sample attached. Not everyone bought a book but some did. Some even said they’d look at my website. They laughed and enjoyed the things I had out that would make them remember me.
- I made up some coffee cups with candy, cards and cooking utensils because that was on the cover of one of my books. Teachers love coffee cups so that too, drew them in. I even got an email from one of the winners saying how much she appreciated it.
- Dressed for Success: I dressed like I was going to an important meeting. I made sure my hair was done and my makeup perfect. My clothes, although not expensive, looked as if I’d put some thought into it. A couple of other vendors (a lot younger than me and way cooler) even mentioned it.
- I was careful not to be using my phone to scroll through notifications unless it was a time when most people were in their workshops. You don’t want to miss an opportunity to shine.
- I also made connections with the other authors and vendors. They were supportive and interested. I even got some new Twitter and Facebook followers because of friendly conversation. One of the vendors had read my books and directed people to my table a number of times. I also got a few invites to other conferences, workshops and writing events for the future.
Okay, so I didn’t make enough money to cover my expenses, but I did network the heck out of my time there. That is worth the effort. I came away encouraged and collected some new friends.