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Stepping Into the Spotlight: First Time Exhibitors

You wrote a book!

You published a book!

Now you have to … sell the book…

Gasp


Funnily enough, selling a book involves a bit of work. While not quite as much as writing a 200,000 word epic fantasy, it’s time consuming nonetheless. Marketing, advertising, social media, websites, shopping platforms and book formats for different markets are all part of the joy of being an author. Crikey ... That means putting on a bunch of hats so varied that you need about a dozen heads to wear them. Luckily, we are heading into the cooler months so you won’t get too overheated.


A fantastic way to engage with readers is to physically get out there and engage with them at conventions and bookish events.


And so, with the help of the awesome BFA Team, I’m going to share my notes on being a first time exhibitor at the amazing Book Fair Australia (which you all have in your calendar as 2nd and 3rd of November, right?).


MUST HAVES:

  • Insurance: Public Liability Insurance is a must have and non-negotiable, it will likely be part of the requirements to attend and, even if it isn’t, is worth having (Check the value of longer policies vs temporary ones: having insurance for 365 days might only be double or triple the cost of a few days!).

  • Table dressing: table and back wall materials for getting your brand out there.

  • Times: get your Bump-In (set up) and Bump-Out (pack up) times right! You want to be enjoying this experience, not rushing to get your stall pretty.

  • Books to sell! You may not sell more than 20 books, but the point is to show up!

  • Payment facilities: Will you take cash and card? You will need some change for cash payments, or a card reader / payment reader app for your phone/tablet.


THINK ABOUT:

  • Book swag for your stall: add some extras if your budget permits. Think tote bags, pins, stickers, candles, posters, bookmarks.

  • Is there a raffle? Showbag? Look at donating some items to a good cause and also get your  books or swag in front of readers.

  • Networking: think about business cards because you could well meet some other authors and bookstagrammers with similar audience and reach, along with finding readers who might not have the budget to shop all the books available but want to join your mailing list for later.

  • Helpers: you might need an assistant for set up and pack up, toilet breaks and even company.


ATTENDING ETIQUETTE:

  • Don’t forget that as awesome, exciting and incredible as it is to share your books with the world, there are others doing the same around you. 

  • Stay in your space!

  • Respect your fellow authors!

  • Engage with the attendees and be attentive!

  • Stay for the entire event, a full event means attendees feel engaged all the way until close.


While it is a lot to think about, attending an event is a great way to get your books out there. Meet your audience, talk books and network. Also, don’t forget to take a breath and pat yourself on the back for how far you’ve come. There’s always more to do, another hat to wear, but allow yourself to share in your love of all things bookish along the way.


This summary has been brought to you by a newly published indie author. I look to expand on these points as the year flies by.


Note: this is not legal advice and is intended as a guide. Don’t forget to do your own research (mine is ongoing). So wish me luck, and see you at Book Fair Australia 2024!


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