And yours, too!
Does meeting readers make good financial sense?
One of the questions I often hear from authors is, “Should I attend a book fair? They’re charging me $25 for a table (or $20 or $50, or some number—it’s a common occurrence, though) and when I factor in travel and meals, I’ll never make my money back. I make $2 per book (or $4 or $5 or some such number). Will I sell enough books to make it worth it?”
The answer is almost always yes.
Why authors should attend book fairs
Think long-term. It’s entirely possible you won’t make your money back immediately. You’ll be one of many authors there, and one or two of your fellow writers might be real heavyweights with a strong publishing punch. But think of the benefits:
I’ve attended many book fairs and have almost always made my money back. Some book fairs were tremendously successful and I made my money back just in on-the-spot book sales. A few were less successful, but did I regret it? No. I got to spend my day talking with my fellow writers—some of whom I only see once a year at a particular event)—as well as readers. We were talking about books! What better way could I spend my day than immersed in a discussion of writing, other than actually writing?
I love attending book fairs and always recommend that my fellow authors go. You’ll be doing your readers—and yourself—a favor.
Why readers should attend book fairs
Of course, I’d feel remiss if I didn’t encourage readers to go, too. We need you, but more importantly, there’s a lot for you to enjoy. You’ll likely get bargain prices on books, find books on local or specialzed subjects that are otherwise hard to find, and you’ll be supporting local authors. Sure, a few authors will have come from far away, but the vast majority will be your neighbors. You’ll be helping them make a few dollars on a project they’ve spent years putting together. You’ll feel good about yourself, and they’ll deeply appreciate you buying their book.
So make sure you set aside an hour or two to support your local book fair. And authors – make sure you set aside a day for the same reason!