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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So, as I noted in a post last week, I had a booth at an art show in St. Augustine, Florida, this past weekend. St. Augustine is one of the settings in my novel.

A terrible storm came through on the first morning of the show. The wind and rain tried to tear apart my tent, and it ripped one of my banners, but I waited to put out my books until after it passed.

Right before the show started, I heard an artist in the booth next to me say to her husband, "That guy's not gonna sell any books." I smiled at her just to let her know that I could hear her, but inside I was thinking that maybe she was right. Who's gonna buy a book at an art show?

The answer: a lot of people.

My booth had people at it all day, and my hand got tired from signing autographs. It turns out a local paper picked up a press release I had sent out, and they made a nice write-up about my book, and I had a lot of people tell me they came to the art show JUST to get my book. I gave away free doubloon replicas (my cost = 50-cents) to everyone who bought a book.

The highlight of the weekend was when a guy walked by and, in passing, said "Oh, I'm reading that book." I stopped him and asked what he meant. He told me that he lived a few hours south and was in St. Augustine for the weekend. A few weeks before, his wife had downloaded the Kindle version of my book; she read it, loved it, and urged him to read it. At the time, he was halfway into it. He said, "Wait a minute... you're the author?" When I said yes, he got all excited and we had a great conversation about the book. He had no idea that I'd be at the show, so it was really a strange coincidence. It's not like I've sold a ton of books yet.

The next day, the temperature dropped. It was in the 40s most of Sunday. That might not sound bad to northerners, but for me and a lot of other Floridians, that's way too cold to be outside! I didn't think anyone would show up, but they did, and I ended up selling over a hundred copies at $15 apiece.

The bonus was that the newspaper article also seemed to have made a good pop in my ebook sales as well.

My father in law dressed up as a conquistador for me the first day, but most people didn't really think he had anything to do with my book. In St. Augustine, according to one bartender I met, apparently guys dressed up as conquistadors are pretty common! The helmet, sword and breastplate served as good props on my book table, though.

My daughter held a sign asking people to buy her daddy's book for about ten minutes, and it was a big hit while it lasted. There was a playground near my booth, so that got the priority.

Here's a pic of me at my booth with my conquistador father-in-law. He was really in character; I had to ask him to stop scowling at customers a few times! As you can see, I grew a beard just in case I wanted to dress as the conquistador.

 

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Awesome story.

The New England Horror Writers up here in the North East do a lot of booths at craft fairs, art shows, county fairs, conventions etc. Some are successful, some aren't. sometimes it works to offer a product that people don't expect to find at arts and craft fairs, especially if you have an angle.
 

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I love St. Augustine.  We live about two hours away, and like to go there a couple times a year.  It's great that you sold so many books, Sean.  More power to you!  I clicked on your novel and it sounds very intriguing. Hope the new year brings you lots of sales.
 

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Cool story. Congrats on doing so well. I would've stopped at your booth because of the conquistador costume...or a medieval knight...or an alien suit. I'm a nerd like that :)

Great banner. Where did you have it done?
 

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Congrats on the great show! Your booth looks pretty impressive. And the situation with the reader is just too cool for words.  :eek:
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thank you for your comments. It was a fun event. A lot of work, but fun, and definitely worthwhile. It's funny how many people get excited to meet a "real author," even if said author isn't on the bestseller list.  :)

Marita asked about the banner. I was so happy to rip that thing down at the end of the show! I designed it on photoshop and had it printed at Office Depot for about $10, but it was paper so the wind ripped it and I went through an entire roll of packing tape just to keep it up. Next time, I will definitely invest in a vinyl banner.

Donna, thank you for the kind words. At the moment, I also live about two hours away from St. Augustine. I love that town and find a lot of inspiration there, especially with all the history. My next novel will feature the town a lot more.

I'd definitely recommend getting out into your community to promote your book. In this digital world where we rarely get to interact with our readers, there's something beautiful about meeting people in person and telling them about your book. I've already had a few emails from people who bought my book, just saying that they were happy to meet me.
 

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Awesome story, awesome photo. Thanks for the info, I guess press releases are a must for any book signing events.
 
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