I’d had success selling my books online, so I didn’t think much about selling my books at in-person events. September is Sickle Cell Awareness month so I knew that I would have an opportunity to sell my books if I found the right event. After vending for the first time, I wanted to share what I learned so you can avoid some of the mistakes I made. Below are my top 10 Vending tips for authors.
Always be ready and you won’t have to get ready. My husband said the words to me when I said I had one day to prepare for vending. I knew the opportunity would come one day, but I never ordered any banners, new business cards, or small special promo items. I knew better, if you know you’ll be vending at some point get the things you need now.
Improvise. Look around your home and space decide what do you have that you can repurpose. For me it was a folding table, picture frame, and the box book holders.
Be ready to accept all types of payments. Surprisingly cash app was the easiest way for me to accept money. I added a QR code to my picture frame and customers scanned the code and sent me the total. Square was easy to use too, but they had to swipe and sign. The best part of square is that you can automatically enter the transactions to keep an accurate inventory count.
As long as there are people, you can make sells and network. When I arrived I was a little disappointed by the low turn out, but I actually made a good amount of sells. My outlook changed quickly because when I arrived to check-in on the registration table I saw kids coloring in my coloring book. That was to me that I was in the right place. In addition to sells, I also met amazing people who were interested in connecting and wanted to learn more about my books and sickle cell events, which was a huge win.
Bring help. A special thank you to my kids who served as my cashiers. If you don’t have adults that can assist you, you can definitely train your children to help. They can be cashiers, greeters, money collectors, movers, etc. The key is to ask for what you need.
Advertise. Hopefully, your vendor has a marketing budget and is utilizing social media to increase the reach of the event, but if not, go the extra mile and advertise your platforms too.
Make your booth stand out. Half of the battle while vending is getting people to stop by your booth. A beautiful display will attract people but word of mouth can attract people too. A tent is helpful too, especially during the summer heat. During my first vending experience the registration booth, encouraged people to stop by my table and that helped me increase my sells.
During down times, get to know other vendors. They can tell you about future vending opportunities, but they may also be willing to buy from you as well.
When you set up your merchandise. Know the exact number you have on your table and then as you sell you’ll be able to keep count how many books or products you’re replenishing.
My last but not least vending tip, be fully prepared to sell as much as you can. This means you have to engage people, look them in the eyes, invite them to your booth, and have as much product as you can so you can sell as much as possible.