Monday, 10 August 2015

6 Tips on how Authors can be Artful at an Art Market…

Recently, I had the pleasure of attending my first Art Market with my new publisher, Mirror World Publishing. I looked forward with anticipation to the throngs of new readers I would meet there. I had my bucket of candy good to go. I had signed postcards and trading cards lined up across our table.  I had my Sharpie® marker at my side, ready to sign the copious amount of books I’d sell. And I had Justine, my trusty publisher by my side to introduce me to the world. Um. Yeah. Cue the crickets. What I found out was Art Markets and Craft Shows are not for the faint of heart and may not be the best venue for authors. However, NEVER underestimate the power of connecting with future readers, and getting the word out about your books and products.

Below are six simple tips I picked up from ‘working it’ on the blacktop during those two days at the local Art Market:

1. Usually potential customers (a.k.a. readers) are lured to tables when they see books. That’s a no-brainer. Make sure you have an eye-catching banner running across the length of your table and that your books are strategically placed in stands (you can purchase these at any dollar store) and positioned together in the same genres.

2. Engage readers immediately and ask them what genre they like to read. Then, go for the sweet spot and ask them the names of their favorite authors. Since my publisher had an array of books and authors of different genres splashed across the table, we had a better chance at filling the readers’ literary needs. For example some liked fantasy, others were avid young adult fans, so we steered them toward the appropriate section. FYI – two of the most popular genres were mysteries and historical fiction. I think Justine made a note of that!

3. Next, ask the reader what book covers hook them. You’d really be surprised at their answers. A group of gray-haired women loved to read blood and guts (still laughing about that), yet my cover for Legend of the Timekeepers—the prequel to my time travel series—scared the hell out of one of them! They ended up buying one of the darkest books we had on stock. *Head desk.

4. If children or teens are in tow, move to the front of the table and go for the candy. They’re already staring at the jar, so why not offer something that they love! Just make sure their parents are on board. Even adults love candy, so go with your gut and offer them a sweet temptation.

5. The elements of nature can be a loving force or a force to be reckoned with. Be prepared for anything. My publisher brought a drop sheet in case it rained, but when the wind kicked up we had to hold onto the tent for dear life! Thankfully a kind vendor across from our table loaned us a couple of cinder blocks to batten down the hatches!

6. Finally, never ignore anyone, and always end conversations on a positive note whether they purchase a book or not. Hand them a brochure on your products or a signed postcard along with a smile. You never know. They might just buy your book at later date!

So there you have it! My six tips based on my first experience working at an Art Market. If you’re an author who loves doing the Art Markets or Craft Shows what tips can you add? If you’re a reader—what book covers pop for you? What covers scare you? Would love to read your comments! Cheers!


  1. I've done booksignings at a farmer's market. Never sold many books but one of the things that happened each time was a potential buyer (with two huge dogs in tow) wanted to stand and gab and gab. His dogs prevented anyone else from approaching. I would have loved to do one with my publisher by my side.
    Susan Says

    1. Thank you for your kind input, Susan. Yes, farmer's markets are sort of a gamble for authors, but you do get face-to-face time with readers and meet potential fans! Cheers!

  2. I have had a table at Arts and Crafts Shows and have done quite well. Yes, you need to talk to everyone who walks by. I only did candies once but many parents don´t want their children eating candies any more (and you always have to ask permission due to allergies etc.) What works for me is props. I have puppets and stuffies on the table representing the animals in my books. They really draw the kids with parents in tow. At one market I didn´t sell many books but a teacher walked by, chatted about my books and bought one. She later ordered 25 for her class, used the book as part of a lesson and asked me to do a presentation. She has since bought the other books. It was well worth being there that day! Great post as always!!

    1. I hear you about the candies, Darlene - some parents were fine, but others were not. Best advice is to look parents in the eye and ask. Never thought of props. Stuffed animals are awesome if you have these characters in your books. Maybe I could construct a small Arch of Atlantis somehow? Now that would be a feat! Thank you for your input! Really appreciate it! Cheers, Darlene!

  3. Maybe you could build one out of Lego!!