Going to the Fair

Gayle_Cheyenne bookstoreThis post by Gayle M. Irwin

On Saturday I sat at a booth at the Winter Maker’s Market, a monthly vendor experience operated by Wyoming Food for Thought. The organization helps feed children in need and operates a farmer’s market in downtown Casper during summer months.

I participated in last month’s Winter Maker’s Market as well. Booth space is only $20, and my first sale on Saturday paid that fee with change left over. By the end of the four hours, I had fared well, but didn’t make as much as I’d hoped, considering there are two weeks until Christmas (actually less as this post goes live). Sales started strong but cratered by Noon, and when someone took the stage to sing during the final hour, customers left – the music was too loud to engage in conversation. I will certainly let the organizers know that rock’n’roll music during a December event, especially when the music detracts conversing with customers, is not the best way to conduct a holiday fair.


My children’s books sold the best; my dog devotions barely moved. That discouraged me, especially since it’s Christ-mas. However, my spirits were lifted when a woman came to my table who said she had my devotion books, thoroughly enjoyed them, then preceded to purchase three children’s books and two of my Tail Tales books, one for herself and one as a gift to a pet-loving friend. I was elated! Meeting “fans” is so encouraging!

I have one more fair to attend later this week – an event called the Artisan’s Market. It’s new to the community this year. Writer friends of mine participated in November and said they did well; I’m hoping I’ll follow in their footsteps for the December event.

It’s fun to explore new ways to sell books and meet readers. I love engaging people, and when they learn I donate part of my book sale proceeds to local rescue organizations, they get excited knowing that together, as writer and reader, we’re helping animals in need.

fair-with-ferris-wheelI may not attend summer county – or state – fairs, with rides, games, and such, but I do enjoy a holiday fair, especially when I can connect with readers, sell books, and help homeless pets. Now, if only I can find a way to “bottle it all up” and “fare” as well with online sales.

How do you engage readers virtually? I’d love to hear your thoughts and “secret sauce” for effectively selling online. What are some of your most effective marketing and networking strategies for selling your works?


Gayle and Mary at KnowledgeNookGayle M. Irwin is the author of several inspirational pet stories for children and adults. She enjoys weaving life lessons, such as courage, perseverance, friendship, faith, trust, and self-confidence into her stories. Gayle is also a contributing writer to six Chicken Soup for the Soul books. She enjoys helping pet rescue organizations and donates a percentage of her book sales to such groups. Her second volume of Devotions for Dog Lovers titled Sage Advice (print version) is discounted 50% for the holiday season when purchased directly from the author (a “Christmas Color Book Cover” sale!) — on sale for just $5.50 until December 20th. Learn more at www.gaylemirwin.com.


Dog Devotions 2 Book Cover Sage Advice Cover   Walking_FrontCover_small   bookcover_tail-tales_front-coverDog Devotion Book_Cover_Final      cody-cabin-cover2   bobcat-front-cover





16 thoughts on “Going to the Fair

  1. So happy for your sales! You are so good at finding places and ways to let people know what you are about. Am so happy for your success, and I have enjoyed your devotion books very much. Am also glad Casper is so supportive of writers and artists.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. There are various types of book fairs, and I’ve been fortunate to participate in a few. Sadly, the Artisan’s Market didn’t go as well as I’d hoped; even the organizers were disappointed, and surprised, at the lack of attendance. One never knows until one tries what will and won’t work. Hope your signings go well, Cher’ley! Thanks for reading my post.


  2. I know what you mean about festivals that have a stage that features rock and roll bands. The NC festivals I covered as a reporter had craft vendors set up within a block of a stage, so I imagine the noise was quite loud for them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I do wish people would think more about the purpose of the fair/festival — a market is for interacting with people, which is very difficult when music is blaring — and most times it wasn’t even Christmas tunes! Thanks for reading my post, Mike, and for commenting.


  3. Gayle, If you find a secret to success, let me know. One of the gifts I have is a publisher who does a lot of promo for me. For that I am eternally grateful.

    Now, having asked for your secret, if I find one, I promise I’ll share. Doris

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, Doris, you are quite fortunate — marketing is a lot of work, and taking time for these fairs and other signings sure can be difficult to juggle. But, I did have fun this holiday season and I’m grateful for the sales. In 2017, I hope to find that “secret sauce” for selling more online, but I also still want to participate in some one-on-one contact as I do find it enjoyable! My secret for success? Relationships/networking! I’m not very successful in terms of $ but I feel I am in terms of “heart.” 🙂 Thanks for reading and commenting!


  4. It sounds as if you’ve definitely done your research, Gayle. Holiday Fairs are funny things – one time you’ll sell a lot and other times you’ll sell a little. I know, because I’ve also done them. I don’t have a lot of help to give on other kinds of promotion but will definitely let you know if I find something. That’s what it’s all about – helping each other.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Linda, for your thoughts and comments and for taking time to read my post. There’s a multitude of ways to try, to promote, to sell, to network — I hope to discover new and stronger ways next year; I’ll keep you all posted on any new findings or success I encounter in the New Year! 🙂


  5. Well done, Gayle! As a ‘Fair’ selling author I know how it can have its ups and downs regarding sales. When the music is too loud I struggle to hear my customers, so there is a ‘just right’ level for me. One thing I have learned over the 2 years worth of trading is that I can never predict which books will sell better at a particular venue. What I think and plan for isn’t what happens – even when I do a ‘Special offer’ price. I know I must get better at online sales but how is still the elusive and big question! I haven’t found any online promotions that I’ve paid for have been effective…yet. Between Jan and March, I intend to spend some of my meagre profits of paperback sales – using it to try online promotions. How that goes is a ‘time will tell’ story.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was hoping to find some success at these new venues and vendors, Nancy, because you inspired me with your successes; although one never knows if such translation will take place, but I’m thankful for the opportunities to try. Regarding online sales — I had a 1/2 price sale on one of my devotion books, and even promoted it on Christian FB sites, but had no luck. I’m hoping to get onto some pet blogs next year and try that angle, especially with a new children’s dog rescue book hopefully, finally, getting finished in late spring. We shall see. Let’s keep in touch and see if we can’t help each other by learning and applying new things and then sharing those discoveries. Thanks for reading my post and commenting!


  6. Going to fairs sounds like fun (as well as work, of course.) Years ago, I took my paintings to several art fairs. I didn’t sell much, but as a newbie, I was thrilled at any sale. As for print–I’ve been donating copies of my critique group’s short story anthology to hotels, office waiting rooms, wherever it looks like they might be picked up and read, or at least looked at. Not marketing, but spreading the word, I guess. Next fall, I hope to join my Sisters in Crime chapter at a booth at the Texas Book Festival. (This year our booth was next to the live music tent, so I’m sort of glad I missed it.) I don’t know of many fairs in my part of the world, but that’s because I haven’t checked. Thanks for the idea.


  7. I don’t know that there is one secret to selling on the internet. I think it is a combination of secrets that are closely guarded. But rest assured it I am fortunate enough to discover a secret or two I will share with my blogging friends.


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