PBW Girl’s Night Out is an annual shopping night/fundraiser for a local chapter of the Professional Business Women’s Association. Get more info about PBW. Money raised goes toward PBW’s scholarships and adopt-a-family programs.
Like many vendor fairs, it was loud, hot, crowded and … smelly! Not in a bad way, but there were “scent” related vendors, and if you’re one of those people who is sensitive about this sort of thing, you would have struggled.
It was not necessarily a place you’d go to find books. But I thought I’d give it a shot because it was close to home and people I know would be there (moral support!).
I went armed with a box of my two novels —Raver and On The Buckle–as well as copies of three collections I have stories in (Sacred Fire, Horse Crazy, A Cup of Comfort for Courage) and used these to sell my books–buy a novel, get a collection for free. My goal is only to get my books in people’s hands, so I offered deeply discounted prices starting at almost 50% off.
Also on my table were bookmarks, a price list, book descriptions, first chapters, the all-important bowl of dark chocolates, and these cute magnets my daughter and I made. These were popular. Free is always popular.
Each vendor provided an attendance prize. I brought four certificates for the audio version of The Man, The Dog, His Owner & Her Lover and had slips of paper and a basket for people to enter a drawing for these.
My beautiful daughter came as my second chair, and I bought tickets for four friends so they would come and help. They were thinking of coming anyway, but were hesitating at the $10 ticket price. They either stuck around my table looking interested in my books (honestly, people are weird about approaching a table if no one else is there–surely you’ve experienced this yourself?) or walked around the room carrying one of my books.
To help with the issue of people wanting to skip a table, the organizers did a very smart thing. They gave everyone a list of vendors and each vendor a stack of little round stickers. Attendees collected a sticker from each vendor and handed it in to win something. I don’t even know what. However, people still tried to swing by and get their sticker without making eye contact or engaging the person on the other side of the table in conversation.
Did I allow that? Of course not. Once I had their paper, I held them captive.
The Lessons Learned
As they scanned my tabletop, I asked, “Do you like to read?”