Selling one’s books at the State Fair in hotter’n-all-get-out Sacramento was a real challenge. Every day was different. Some days I think people came inside the cavernous “Counties Building” just to get out of the blistering heat or for the food booths, including the cinnamon bun stand. Oh, that aroma! Some days were “Kids Day,” some “Seniors Day,” some “Disabled Day,” and the rest were regular. You never knew which days would be good, and every one of the 36 authors working on alternating days had a different theory. Usually 7 or 8 authors worked each day, and our schedules were such that we were slated with different authors who wrote in non-competing genres: thrillers, historical fiction,
history, children’s, mysteries, fantasy, etc. Even if sales were slow, it was a wonderful opportunity to meet people, give them bookmarks and flyers, and chat with them about writing and publishing. I know I made many new friends this year, both children and adults, teachers, grand-mothers and -fathers, gardeners, other authors, and all kinds of folks with political and other opinions. Yes, we did meet some real characters. One develops good listening skills! Thanks to the efforts of booth manager and author Naida West, the California Authors’ Booth has been a fixture at the fair since 1999. And the fair invites us back each year. They provide the space, partially enclosed with freshly painted dividers, four double and a single table set-ups and glass case for author posters, store room, chairs, book cases, power (but no wifi). We sell our books and in return, give the fair 15% of before-tax sales.
It’s a fair deal, so to speak. We are our own biggest competition–when our books are available on-line as print and ebooks, many folks prefer to order them when they return home. We hope they do, but we’ll never know.