Bookselling by Hand

Delegating is not one of my strong suits. So here I am handling nearly all of the details of SPAWN’s participation in the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books. You see, for most of the last seventeen years, SPAWN has had a booth or two at the festival and we invite members to sell their books from the booth. It’s a GREAT opportunity on many levels.

We also have a beautiful catalog of members’ books and services printed to hand out to visitors. Folks who don’t live close enough to participate in person can send their books for display. If those books are also in the catalog, it makes for a nice brochure for people to take home and use when shopping for books. There are fees involved to defray the costs of renting a booth and having the catalogs printed, etc. If you are interested in participating with SPAWN in the booth or have your book in the catalog, learn more here:

If you’ve ever taken charge of an event or project, you know that there’s a lot of work involved. Mainly, pulling it together, making sure all possible participants are adequately notified and then there is the follow up. Today, for example, I will contact all members and make sure they know about the opportunities, even though, we have discussed this several times at SPAWNDiscuss and it has been announced in the newsletter three times and I have already contacted some members personally.

Then there are the numerous questions that come in, special requests and so forth. Every year, I vow to get help the next year. The only help I have is the volunteer who designs and creates the catalog and has it printed. Tamara Devers is a miracle worker. She and her husband own TLC Graphics. They do great work. I could never figure out how to divide the rest of the work, so I have never asked for a volunteer to help me.

This year, I have it figured out. I will get help next year contacting members intermittently to remind them of the various deadlines looming. I HATE it when members come to me too late and say, “I didn’t know anything about it—can’t you make an exception and put my book in the catalog—or make space for me at the booth—no one told me about this event. I want to participate.” And if is usually too late—the catalog is printed, the booth is full. But I feel as though I worked for each and every participant personally.

Well, it’s sort of like bookselling. Don’t you feel as though you sometimes hand sell each and every book? You really work for sales—often talking personally with potential readers at length in order to sell one book.

With so many options and opportunities now, we are on overwhelm. No wonder folks miss out on opportunities, ignore them, don’t notice them, don’t pay attention and put things off. Think about this as you plan your book marketing strategy. I often tell you that it takes time, creativity and tons of energy to sell books. Those of you who are involved in the bookselling process now know exactly what I mean, right?

Did I tell you that “Talk Up Your Book” is on Kindle? You can order it at in print or Kindle. This is the book that will help you over the hurdles related to hand-selling your books through public speaking opps as well as individually at book festivals, signings and even on the street. How do you approach potential customers? What do you say? How often do you have to go out and pitch your book? It’s all in my book, “Talk Up Your Book.”

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