I was lucky enough to be invited to Southborough Book Fair on Saturday 12 March. As it was a family event I thought it would be good to focus on Imelda & the Horned Owl, which is the epic fantasy adventure for 7-12 year-olds I wrote with my daughter Lana, when she was between 7 and 8.
I’d wanted to start hand-selling books for a while, but the pandemic put paid to those ambitions, which actually worked out okay because it gave me more time to write books and explore options. But finally, the time had come! Above is a pic of the first AC Experiments sales table, in the Civic Hall at Southborough, Kent!
It’s always a balancing act trying to decide how many books to get printed, who to get them printed by, how much to charge etc. In the end I printed 15 copies from Amazon KDP, reducing the sale price as low as possible to ensure I made enough to cover costs. Lana and I signed each one, and I decided £10 per book was reasonable. It’s a nice round number (none of this £9.99 nonsense – who has pennies anymore?) and reflects the value of the book, its uniqueness, and the amount of work that went into its creation by both Lana and me. It’s also worth factoring in the table cost (£15 in this case although that can vary), and other costs such as car-parking. Plus there’s cover design and type-setting – both of which I did but using software that I pay for (I used BookBrush for the cover). It’s easy to forget these.
Most of the purchases were made using cash – I think people expect that at small events like these. I also used my PayPal account. Although PayPal take a percentage, it’s a very convenient way to transfer money. Going forward, I’ll probably invest in Square or one of the other card-payment apps for my phone.
A couple of other practicalities – it was definitely worth taking a bottle of water and some mints, as I knew I was going to be standing and yapping for hours. I got this tip from another writer who sells loads of books at events like these.
I got there at 1.30pm and set up, and the event, which was commemorating World Book Day, ran from 2pm until 5pm. The time flew, and it was great talking to people about the book, and how I came to write it with Lana, and (gasp) actually selling some copies!
At 3.30 I did a reading, or rather a performance, of the first chapter, Attack in the Mountains. I’d learned it the week before, but had not idea what the performing space was going to be like. You have to be prepared for anything, and this space was a semi-circle of chairs against the far wall. Naturally, people were still enjoying the book fair, so I had to do a good deal of PROJECTING, which was great as it felt like being a street performer in olden times, or a player at the original Globe.
Big thanks to Alex for filming this: https://bit.ly/ImeldaLive
You can buy a copy of Imelda & the Horned Owl here: https://bit.ly/ImeldaHornedOwl and do please leave a quick review, as they really help!