A couple of weeks ago I shared a booth at the Jonquil Festival with fellow Delta author, Rhonda G. Williams. This was the first time either of us had sold our books at a craft fair. In fact, it was the first time I’d had a vendor booth at any fair. (I’ve been to book fairs with my publisher, but I wasn’t in charge. Totally different.) I wasn’t sure how this event would turn out. Local books and local crafts? Why not?
Truth: sitting under a canopy for three days subject to wind, cold, heat, humidity, rain—all the crazy Arkansas weather—life begins to feel like camping. And I prefer my camping with a touch of comfort. As in glamping.
So what’s glamping? It’s inspired camping. Camping with glamour. Glamping is about having fun, being adventurous, stringing up a paper chain and not worrying about making things perfect.
Almost glamping is what Rhonda and I did with our Jonquil Festival booth. While technically we “camped” in town at local hotels, we glamped up our booth.
Are you an author?
I have a theory. While nothing will replace engaging writing, an interesting title, and a compelling cover, a creative vendor booth will bring folks over and allow you to visit with them. Books don’t sell themselves. I’d like to believe someone walking by might glance over to our booth and think, “My, my, aren’t those ladies creative. Their books must be magical!”
See how it works? It makes perfect sense in my mind.
And here’s the opposite scenario: sitting behind a table, behind your sunglasses, behind a stack of books, eating kettle corn and not engaging with people—don’t expect to set any sales records. Everything about this situation screams dull.
Our “almost glamped-up” festival booth…
The good thing—I didn’t spend a lot of money or time of this. I used items rooted out in my garage and craft supplies on hand. Such as:
- Reusable chalk banner hung from the top of the tent “announces” our booth. I bought this for less than $5 at Walmart over a year ago and have used it over and over. (That’s the beauty of chalk.)
- Vintage sheets and tablecloths cover plain jane folding tables.
- Chalk board signs allow messages to change from event to event. (Or even throughout the day.)
- My cowhide rug was a conversation starter.
- Wire baskets are handy for storing books and keeping organized.
- Silver (faux) tray adds a little something-something to your display.
- Cotton in a wicker urn travels easily. I have a tub of cotton from our 2015 harvest, and I use it in all sorts of decorations.
- Fresh flowers add a pop of color.
- I made streamers using snippets from both of our novels. “Book teasers” if you will.
- Free is good! I gave away wildflower seeds and bite-sized chocolate.
- Don’t forget your bookmarks and business cards. Information handed out one day can result in future sales.
While my style and idea of glamping may not fit yours, it fits my book, my blog, my brand. That’s my goal—to immerse the reader into Gracie Lee’s world. To make readers interested in my story and my writing. Since Rhonda’s protagonist is also a young girl in Arkansas, our worlds meshed nicely. Peas and carrots.
We sold books. We made some new friends. We even made the Hope Prescott News.
I’d like to believe our creative spirit played a part.
Talya Tate Boerner
Grace Grits and Gardening
Farm. Food. Garden. Life.
P.S. We couldn’t have ordered a better booth location! For most of Saturday and Sunday, The Hempstead County Melody Boys played gospel, country and bluegrass music. Seriously, it was like a soundtrack for The Accidental Salvation of Gracie Lee.
The Hempstead County Melody Boys, Just As I Am