Thursday, August 15, 2019

How to Enjoy Craft Fair Season as an Author (and Sell More Books)

By Charity Bradford, @charitybradford

Part of The Indie Author Series

JH: Successful indie authors seek out and take advantage of additional sales venues and opportunities. Craft fairs are an often-overlook away to introduce you and your work to new readers. Charity Bradford returns to the lecture hall today to show us how she does it.

Charity Bradford has been a voracious reader ever since her 5th grade teacher introduced her to the world of books with Where the Red Fern Grows. She soon became kindred spirits with Anne Shirley and got lost in the worlds of Card, McCaffrey, Bradbury, and Nagata. By college, she was sewing her own Starfleet uniform and developing her alter-ego as a comic book sidekick. She lives in Northwest Arkansas with her hubby and four kids. Some of her guilty pleasures include binge watching Doctor Who and Ancient Aliens. Charity also writes clean contemporary romance under the name River Ford.

Website | Website (River Ford) Newsletter Sign-up | Charity on Facebook | River on Facebook |Twitter | Pinterest | Instagram

Take it away Charity…

It's only August, but craft fair season is quickly approaching. This may not be your first choice for selling books since most patrons of fairs aren't looking to buy books. However, readers are everywhere and if you have a polished story with a great cover, you'll find your audience at craft fairs just as easily as at other events. As an indie author this is where I sell the most print copies of my books. Today I'm going to share a few tips on how to make the best of a day at the fair.

1. Set Realistic Expectations

I've been to the same fair multiple years in a row. Sometimes I sell a lot of books, other times I don't sell any. You never know how people are going to respond to an author in the middle of kitchen cozies, reclaimed wood projects, knitted cat sweaters, and the other variety of wares at a craft fair.

If you go into the day with a desire to simply have good conversations with those who make eye contact, you'll generally be happy at the end of the day whether you sell two or twenty books. Plus, realizing people may not be looking for books will help you avoid the dreaded “air of desperation.” More about that later.

2. Make Your Table Visually Appealing

Your table/booth/tent is just like your book cover. If there isn't anything to draw the customers' eye, they aren't going to stop. Make sure you have a tablecloth long enough to hide your boxes of books under as well as your personal belongings. Find things that relate to your stories to set around your books. Let your personality shine through with color and flair!

3. Have a Price Sheet Displayed

Seriously, save yourself time and do this beforehand. If you can print it on cute paper related to your genre and get it laminated, all the better. Also consider printing up one or two of your best reviews in large print to display next to the books. Let people know they'll miss out if they don't buy one of your books.

4. Smile and Be Willing to Talk To 'Wanna-be Writers'

Most of the conversations I've had at fairs are with people who start out by saying, “I've always wanted to write a book.” These people almost never buy a book in my experience, but be kind and share your wisdom anyway. Who knows, maybe they'll go home and buy the kindle version.

5. Freebies!

Everyone loves getting something for nothing. I always have a big bowl of Hershey's Kisses beside my book Chocolate Kisses for people to grab. Have lots of bookmarks or business cards they can take that list your website and places to connect with you on social media. I've found that putting the QR code to my Amazon Author page often results in kindle buys or KU reads. The key is keep it simple, cheap for you, and relate it to your work.

I know of one author who makes cookies for events and little ribbons to hand out that read, “I ate Beth's cookies!”

6. Newsletter Signups

A lot of people have moved away from reading printed books. They prefer digital and might be interested in a reminder that they were interested in your work. Have a place where they can sign up for your newsletter. This works really well if you have a free story or preview chapters to give away with newsletter subscriptions.

7. Take a Friend

Whether it's another author, family member or simply a friend, having someone with you can be a huge boost. One, there's someone to watch your table when you need a potty break, and two, if there is a lull in traffic you don't get bored. Personally, I love sharing with another author. You can split the cost of the space and spend valuable time with someone who understands a writer's mind.

8. Avoid the Air of Desperation

This is a real thing. People can sense when you are nervous or scared to death, and you're not going to sell anything. They may not understand what the tense vibes you're putting off mean, but it will repel them from your table. This is why you have to remember tip #1. If you don't sell tons of books it won't be the end of the world. You've won simply by putting yourself out there so people can see you. Exposure is key to future success. Embrace it. Smile. Life is good. People will be attracted by the calm and positive feelings they get from you.

So, the next time you hear about a craft fair in your area, consider setting up a booth and showing off all your hard work. Plus, fair food!

Finally, it's my birthday week. To celebrate, I always put my books on sale. If you're interested in science fiction or fantasy, check out my Amazon Page for Charity Bradford. My anniversary also falls on this week so my contemporary romances by River Ford are also discounted.

And, if you'd like a chance to win an audiobook simply comment below with whether you'd want a science fiction audiobook or a romance audiobook. I'll choose a winner on August 31st.

About The Hand of Atua 

Eighteen-year-old Amiran wants to forget he's the Hatana's son. Unfortunately, his father's fleet is marching across the galaxy. Planets have fallen and now they're heading for Manawa. There's nothing there the Hatana wants, no reason for him to spare the planet. The only reason to attack is to send Amiran a message—pick up your duty as heir or lose everything you love.

Determined to save as many as possible, Amiran calls for a planet-wide exodus. When his favorite professor refuses to leave, Amiran puts the professor's daughter, Eleena, on the escape shuttle instead. Before he can convince her father to leave Manawa, Amiran is captured by the Hatana's scouts. Sentenced to serve in the mines and then the fleet he hates, Amiran fears he'll never find a way to stop his father's tyranny. Beaten regularly to the brink of death, Am takes solace in dreams about Eleena. As time passes, he draws strength from the knowledge she is alive and surviving in the refugee camps the best she can.

As his feelings deepen, Amiran knows that to keep Eleena truly safe, he must put an end to the brutality of the fleet. Only then will he be able to reunite with the woman he's grown to love.

Charity Bradford on Amazon | River Ford on AmazonBarnes & Noble | Indie Bound |


  1. Excellent article, Charity. It is full of great ideas on how to make the most out of a craft fair. I never really gave any thought to selling books at a craft fair but now that you mention it, I think it is a great idea. I will consider this for a book selling option once I publish my next children’s book.

  2. Good for you, Derrick! Enjoy the process and you might be surprised with the results.