Over the past decade, I have held a handful of garage sales. A couple years ago, while doing a garage sale, my children baked and sold cookies to shoppers. The cookies were a hit. We ended up selling more cookies than garage sale items.
Remembering the success they had a few years ago, my children decided to sell cookies at our recent garage sale. This year, they did not sell a single cookie, but we sold over half of our garage sale items.
I believe our garage sale experience (although limited) suggests a principle that can be used when promoting and selling books. It is simply this: Lack of success at one venue does not mean lack of success at all similar venues.
In other words, if you take your books to a local book fair one year and you don’t generate much interest, don’t become too discouraged. Interest really depends on a number of factors—just like my garage sales. One year everyone wanted cookies, another year no one wanted them. Why? I don’t have an answer for that except to suggest that maybe the clientele was different, maybe the weather affected the people’s mood, or maybe cookies have gone out of fashion.
At any rate, just because your book does not do well at one venue, don’t write off all similar events. The next one you attend may have a different climate, different people, and different interests.
One of the biggest mistakes I see new authors and publishers do is to give up too soon. Take encouragement from my little experience with cookies at garage sales, and don’t get discouraged. Try again; you might have a different result.