I wrote a blog on Murderous Musings last February about "Selling Outside the Box." I mentioned the necessity of finding other venues for booksignings besides brick and mortar stores. I'm still pursuing it with my critique group partner Beth Terrell.
Our latest venture was a few weeks ago when we set up a table to sign and sell books in conjunction with a Ladies Day Luncheon at Old Hickory Country Club in Old Hickory, TN, a Nashville suburb. The club was founded by employees of DuPont back when Old Hickory was a company town built around the plant that manufactured cellophane and rayon. In later years it produced a variety of products and became fully automated, cutting back to a fraction of the work force it once employed. But the country club still flourishes.
Despite a cold, blusterous day with winds hitting 40 to 50 miles per hour, the ladies came out and enough bought our books to make it a successful outing.
I did another non-bookstore event in November, attending the annual Kentucky Book Fair in Frankfort. With the economy still slumping, we didn't see as many book buyers as in some past years, but those who came happily grabbed up the books. Although the local Joseph Beth Booksellers store handled the sales, I brought my own backlist and did quite well.
I also participated in the Estill County Reading Celebration in Irvine, KY, and the Southern Kentucky BookFest in Bowling Green. Last March, Beth and I signed books at the second annual Market Place at Goodpasture Christian School, near where I live in Madison, TN. A lady who bought one of my books there invited us to take part in the Old Hickory Country Club event.
On January 16th, we'll be going back to the Manchester (TN) Public Library's annual Adult Reading Program. This is a return engagement for an event we first took part in during 2009. Three other members of our Sisters in Crime Chapter from Nashville will also be there. The librarian was thrilled at our participation, and the book buyers seemed to like us, too.
Selling at events like these help spread your name about and bring in new fans for your books. An especially appealing feature is you bring your own books and don't have to worry about returns. I'm with a small press where I get a good deal on buying my books, so it's strictly a win-win proposition.