Part 2, Setting the Table
In this series, I’m talking about my experiences selling books outside of bookstores, in venues such as farmer’s markets, craft shows, and anywhere else vendors are invited. In the last installment, we spoke about signage and banners, and using them to attract readers to your booth.
This time, I’ll be talking about setting up your table. I try to make my table look professional and attractive so readers want to approach and engage in conversation. Here’s what my usual setup looks like.
I use a six foot folding table because it fits well in my car and is easy to transport. Most venues that provide a table use eight footers, which are nice but if I’m lugging it around I prefer the one that fits nicely across my backseat.
I cover the table with a clean, black tablecloth because the vinyl tabletop gets dirty and beat up from being carried around. On top of that, I arrange my books using clear plastic literature holders that hold two copies of my paperbacks nicely. I picked them up at Staples for about $10 each.
The next items are framed copies of interviews I did with media. When I release a new book, I give local media a call and arrange interviews. The two pictured here are for Murder in the Heart of It All and Bad Rock Beat Down. These are extremely important. Banners and signs attract readers from far away, but these interview displays are excellent at opening up a conversation. I can’t tell you how often people tell me they remember reading the interview and were interested in my books, and now we’re together discussing that work. The one pictured below is for Murder in the Heart of It All, and even after a year people recall reading it.
This one is for Bad Rock Beat Down. I doctored it up a little to include the book cover and to make it look a little more professional.
Finally, I place bookmarks on the front of the table for readers to take.
I hand these out to potential readers who don’t want to buy immediately. The front has a custom design with my website name. The reverse has images of my book covers and a QR code that leads to my website.
I also include one of these in each book I sell.
So, that’s the table set up. The secret to success is to keep the table neat, clean, and professional. If readers see that you can set up an attractive table, they’ll be more likely to assume the work you put into your book is professional as well.
Next time, we discuss the writer’s kit that contains everything you’ll need to process payments and support your efforts.