On Saturday, I participated in the Authors, Artists & Artisans event hosted by Higher Grounds Books & Media (HGBM). It was the third such event organized by HGBM, the second I attended.
First, the compliments.
The event was well-organized with an interesting mix of vendors. Maybe half of the 30 vendors were authors, while the other half included dealers for Norwex, Thirty-One, Perfectly Posh, and Color Street as well as people who hawked their handmade goods. I didn't seen any artists there, at least not in the way I think of artists. I have to give credit where credit's due: HGBM did attempt to take advantage of a wider range of potential attendees by offering a wider range of vendor types.
The event was held in Building 50 of Clark State Community College. The size of the room served the needs of the vendors, being neither too large nor too crowded. The table arrangement made good use of the available space with scattered distribution of authors and vendors, preventing any one category from being clustered together.
As an additional benefit, the weather cooperated Saturday afternoon. The sun shined. Temperatures were mild. This contrasts with the utterly miserable, cold downpour at the HGBM event in December--a nice improvement.
Now, the critique.
The broader range of vendor types should have brought in a wider range of attendees and potential customers. The 3-hour event had fewer than a dozen attendees, including children accompanying parents. Once again, I find my formula for success verified: go where the people are. Few people will wander into a meeting room in a building on a college campus. At only three hours in duration, the event hardly had time to attract a crowd. I wasn't the only vendor to clear my table early and head out. When it comes to events like this, there's little worse than vendors stuck in a conference room all trying to sell to each other. I was glad I brought my Kindle.
One of the other authors and I really don't fit the tenor of the HGBM or the other authors. He and I write romance, oftentimes explicit romance. Except for the two of us and one table filled with children's literature, the other authors wrote inspirational and motivational literature.
I saw several inquiries by HGBM to local businesses if they would post fliers advertising the event. Several agreed to do so. However, social media marketing remained nonexistent. I found the Facebook announcement and shared that last week, but the organizer's website had little information. Assuming that I received everything all the other vendors did, then the event had no updates for vendors to spread through their social media networks, no individual or group promotions, nothing.
Marketing is important.
Because circumstances went against HGBM's December author event, I decided to give them another try, a second chance. I dislike to report that the second chance bore as little fruit as the first.
This time we have two lessons learned (one a repeat):
Hen House Publishing and Mother Stewart's Brewing Company have a third book fair scheduled for Saturday, August 17, from 12:00 to 7:00 PM. That's the weekend before school starts. The brewery already draws a crowd, so we're going where the people are--and we hope to bring in additional people to the brewery. Win-win. Author registration opens on Wednesday, May 1.
#HenHousePublishing #HollyBargoBooks #SpringfieldOHBookFair