Don’t Ignore Local Venues

Vaughn Hardacker here: It’s been a month since the release of my second novel, THE FISHERMAN, and it’s been a struggle to schedule events at libraries throughout Aroostook County. My novel SNIPER was a finalist for a Maine Literary Award (along with FishermanKate Flora, Paul Doiron, and John Corrigan–writing as D. A. Keeley) and I sent mailings to a number of libraries through out Maine. My experience has been that library venues aren’t the best place to sell books. People go to the library to borrow books; not buy them. When I read in a local newspaper that John Corrigan was making a tour of Aroostook County with stops at libraries in Houlton, Presque Isle, and Caribou, I decided to attend the Caribou event so John would have at least one person in attendance. As it turned out, John told me that Caribou was the high point of the trip–in fact it paid for the trip. Rather than set up at the library itself, the Caribou Library arranged for him to have a vendor slot at Thursday on Sweden.

TOS is a bi-weekly venue held throughout the summer on Caribou’s main drag (Sweden Street) it features music (both via D. J. and live bands) as well as craft and food vendors. I located John and he told me that he’d sold more books that he had expected to sell. He also added, “This is the way to do it, rather than the library.”

When SNIPER was released I did a Caribou Library event and three people attended (one, an old friend from high school bought a book). This is the second year that TOS has been a Novel Coverbi-weekly summer event in Caribou and I had not attended a single one. However, I took John’s advice and contacted the people in charge of the event and was told there was no fee for being a vendor all I had to do was submit a form available online. I did so and was assigned a spot for the rest of the summer.

On July 2 I set up a table and boy was I surprised! Remember those three people who attended my SNIPER event? Here’s a picture of who attended TOS!

Thursday on Sweden 1After the first hour and a half I netted over a hundred dollars in sales!

Moral of this story…check out your local venues, they may be more lucrative than you ever thought and cost less.

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6 Responses to Don’t Ignore Local Venues

  1. Ruth McCarty says:

    Great advice,Vaughn.

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  2. MCWriTers says:

    Vaughn…seems like you should invite your fellow MCW writers to share a table with you one of these days, yeah?

    Kate

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  3. Lea Wait says:

    Vaughn – I second Kate’s suggestion! And see you in Belgrade August 2!

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  4. Edith says:

    Great tip, Vaughn. I sell at a couple of farmers’ markets in the summer, which particularly works because one of my series features an organic farmer and local foods nuts.

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  5. You’re right- including the area you mention. I was just up in Fort Fairfield for the Potato Blossom Festival, and figured I might as well sell books while there. So I had to pay for a booth, but it was well worth it. I grew up there, and that was my first intro as an author, and did great in sales and memories and new contacts. Most festivals are far better than the library meet-and-greets. I still support the libraries, even though I know I won’t likely make many sales.
    One other writing group co-ordinator complained that craft fairs weren’t a good place to sell, just before we had a record-breaking selling event at a fair in CT! A lot depends on circumstance, offerings, and type of crowd, but a writer can do well, if they’re friendly.

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  6. MCWriTers says:

    I have a spot reserved for the remainder of the summer. The next Thursday on Sweden is on July 30. The event is every other Thursday so I’ll be there on August 13 and 27 also. Any author whose in the area is welcome to squat with me!

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