Last weekend I took part in ECCE (East Coast Comic Expo) as a vendor, and every year I do so, I learn something new.
Now the majority of my focus (and display table) was devoted to my used bookstore, I do believe a lot of the things I do as a shop owner can easily translate to authors peddling their wares. Below are some of the things that work for me:
- Dress for the occasion. Since ECCE is devoted to the geek/nerd culture, I made sure I wore some of my finest nerdy t-shirts, as did most of the attendants.
- Stand. It’s been my experience that if you’re sitting behind your table, not everyone feels comfortable approaching you, probably some unconscious social trigger. If you’re on the same line of sight, we as humans seem more comfortable.
- Engage the public. Clearly, not everyone will be a customer, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t greet everyone who stops to look, or ask how they’re enjoying the event. Heck, I even usually ask what “treasures” they have found, and they’re keen to show you. While we live in this modern age of devices and social media, we still survive by our “rep”, word of mouth can make or break you.
- “Take away”. Give everyone who takes the time to pause at your display something to take away with them. It could be something material, such as your business card or a piece of candy from the “free candy” bowl (btw, best $6 you’ll spend), or it could be something personal, a kind word or a smile to someone who complements your set-up.
Each year, I build upon my set-up, try to make it a little more professional than the last, and luckily that has translated into decent sales.
Now to shift focus and get back to writing!