Sunday, July 19, 2015

Hawking & Slinging Books at Festivals

by Kristi Belcamino

So, it's official.

I'm not a Festival Girl.

Cafe Girl, yes. Festival Girl slinging and hawking my books to strangers trying to enjoy their day?

Not so much.

I spent time this weekend at my small little table at an Italian American festival, accosting strangers who stopped to look at my books. It sucked.

Sure, I sold some books.

Yes, I enjoyed meeting everybody who stopped by to chat.

But I've decided that spending ten hour days at a festival to promote myself is a nightmare.

I admit it might just be me.

I'm no Jessie Chandler. That woman is a natural promotion machine.

At Printer's Row in Chicago, she not only sold passersby her own books, she sold them mine, as well.

So this leads me to believe that selling books at a festival is not inherently evil, it's just not for me.

I can tell people about my books but it still makes me uncomfortable.

It exhausts my introverted nature. I left with a raging headache and a desire to sleep 20 hours in a row.

So that is the first and last festival I will attend as an author.

What about you? Do you like meeting authors at non-book event festivals? What about you authors, is it hell on earth for you, as well, or do you like it?


mybillcrider said...

I hate doing gigs like that, and I stopped doing them years ago.

Kristi said...

Yes. I'm done!

Kristopher said...

Remember when authors used to sit outside of B. Dalton or Waldenbooks at the malls and accost people going into the store? I always felt sorry for them, as it just seemed like the worst way to sell a book.

I don't go to many festivals generally, as I just don't like the crowds, the heat, the noise. But I do always try to engage with an author I see hawking a book in that way. I know it must be painful and maybe just saying hello will make their day a bit easier/better.

That said, unless you are an true extrovert (not many authors are), then you are probably not going to miss enough sales to make the torture worth it. I always say, do what feels natural.

Dana King said...

I agree with all of the above. I made a good faith effort to hit some books fairs to try to sell GRIND JOINT after Stark House put it out. I was miserable and sold nary a book. This year I didn't bother with it. I'm good at events where I know people came to see me, such as readings or conference panels. Accosting people on the street is not for me.

Rick Ollerman said...

Sadly, the plans for the "Official Kristi Belcamino Book Fair" at the state fairgrounds are being postponed indefinitely.

Jessie said...

Oh Kristi! I totally understand the introverted "run like hell" feeling all too well. Yeah, I can make myself into a promotional machine, but more often than not I wind up heading back to the room with a migraine myself. It does totally suck to hawk your wares to unsuspecting goers. It's okay, it doesn't have to be for you! You can still hold your head up high, and be very proud of yourself. You did a great job. Promoing isn't for everyone, and it's okay. Here's a virtual Jessie hug that'll make you feel better!

Kristi said...

Jessie - thanks! Needed that!
Rick - you are too funny!
Dana - word.
Kristopher - you are one of the good guys.
Bill - amen.

Holly West said...

Kristi, obviously, you are not alone. I wish you would've enjoyed the experience more but sometimes we need to do a variety of things just to see what works for us and what doesn't.

I have a feeling I would've hated it, too.

Anonymous said...

: ) Holly, sometimes it's good to find out what you don't do very well. Now, I know!