Monday, October 11, 2010

Was it Worth it?

The Big Read on Saturday began at 9:00, but I wasn't needed at the booth until 10:00. Publicity for the event was about nil, which is typical for St. Louis. If you aren't shooting someone or crashing a car on Interstate 44, you just don't make the news around here. I got to the booth at my designated time, cooler containing water and my lunch in hand. We had a steady, if small, stream of event goers throughout the day. Not too many seemed interested in purchasing books, but perhaps that was due to the book fair a few booths down where you could purchase books for a fraction of their once new price. It also hit 87 degrees so I think the turnout was down from previous years.

At 2:00 I helped at the main stage where the SLPA contest winner would be revealing her book cover and giving a reading of her newly published first novel. I had brought along my camera, so I also took some photos to put on the SLPA facebook page. While I know that Mandy was nervous about speaking in front of an audience, she was a natural and did a great job. She first spoke about how she had come to write the book (NaNoWriMo), and then how she found out about the SLPA and the contest. Following that she read from the book, and then headed back to our booth to sign copies of her book. She did well, selling around 30 copies I would guess.

I, on the other hand, sold exactly 1 of my books, and that was to Mandy! She is interested in house history and in fact her novel is a story involving genealogy and an historic house, so we have a lot in common.

Having said that, do I think that having a booth at The Big Read is a waste of time and money for myself and the SLPA? Not at all, and here is why. We had a nice number of people inquiring about the organization and our upcoming meetings, so it was good exposure for SLPA. And for myself, a realtor asked me about the possibility of buying my book in quantity to give out as house warming gifts to her clients. She would never have known about my book had she not seen it at The Big Read. So even though I spent 6 hours of my day at the event and didn't sell enough books to cover the cost of having them in the booth, I still got exposure for my title and you can't put a monetary value on that.

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