I’d never set up a stall before, or any kind of sales display. I had picked up a few ideas from here and there, but, if I wanted my stall to be attractive, informative, and approachable, I needed to do some research.
First of all, Pinterest was my friend. Loads of authors had posted photos of their dealer and signing stands, and there were so many examples. I was able to pick and choose bits I liked, things that would work for me, and discard the things I wasn’t interested in, or wouldn’t be able to get hold of.
The second place I turned to was an author group on Facebook. Who better to ask for advice, than those who have been there and done it? I was flooded with excellent tips; some of which I’d already thought of, others that I would have never considered.
The advice included:
- Having interesting props on your table to get people’s attention
- Having freebies to give away
- Free book vouchers
- Consider what it’s like to be on the customer side of the table: don’t be the salesperson you’d hate to meet!
- Iron your tablecloth!
- Fancy dress
- Look ready to greet people: don’t be reading, or playing on your phone
- Ask them how they’re enjoying the event before talking about your books
- Be prepared with an answer for “what’s your book about?”
- Invest in book display stands
- Make your piles of books a little bit untidy so that people aren’t scared to pick them up
- Wear layers
- Drink plenty of water
- Bring hand sanitiser
- Have something tall to catch attention
- Bring tape, scissors, and safety pins
- Have a way to take card payments
And this is what my stall looked like:
For my first ever stall, I was really, really pleased about how it looked, and there were some things I definitely did right, and some things I will do differently next time.
Lessons I learnt:
- Have a longer tablecloth: I used scarves to cover my table, but all the visible boxes underneath look terrible! I will invest in a floor-length tablecloth, and I’m looking at getting a table runner with my logo on.
- I didn’t get myself a banner, because, wow, those things are pricey! Plus, I’d need to fork out for professional headshots. Or put something on there I would know I wouldn’t want to change every year. It was a small event, so I don’t think it mattered too much, but I will definitely consider it in the future.
- Investing in a bum bag to keep my float and valuables in was one of the best things I did.
- I need to be more forthright about pointing out my freebies. I had these fantastic postcards with a QR code to get a free ebook, and hardly gave any away. Likewise, my free chocolate coins were mostly eaten by me!
- I brought way too much book stock. This is probably the hardest thing to gauge. What’s worse: selling out, or having loads left over?
- The best thing I did was to invest in a SumUp machine for taking card payments. It’s compact, and I can create a shop on the app on my phone that adds everything up for me. It was super easy to use, and there’s no monthly fee, so it’s perfect if you’re only using it a few times a year. Plus, the fees are super low. On the day, 58% of my sales were paid for by card. Imagine if I’d had to turn all of those people away? If you’d like to save money on purchasing your own SumUp machine, you can get money off using my affiliate link: http://r.sumup.io/lHyAW