Wow. I don't think I've ever been so happy to be sitting at my desk looking out at a cold and rainy afternoon. I just finished two whirlwind days of bookselling at a wonderful trunk show event and being able to sit down is a welcome relief. This was my first trunk show and I learned a lot. Here are my top ten take-aways from the event:
1. Getting out into the world is a wonderful thing. As a writer I spend a lot of time alone in this very chair that I am currently loving. I think about my readers - how old they are, what they like to do, what news stories they read, what they dream about - but I don't always get to meet them. It was really fun to talk to new people about my books. And it was even more fun to meet total strangers who have not only read my books, but loved them so much that they were actually excited to meet me. I'm sure J.K. Rowling is used to strangers complimenting her work, but I am not. It was not so long ago that I could track every single book sale back to my network of mom friends. There were days where I could even track sales based on who I had spoken to on the playground! The fact that my sales have now grown well beyond that stage is thrilling.
2. Packaging is important. I love my covers and I think they look great as a group. But the other thing that shoppers really responded to is my gift wrapping. People loved the old-fashioned look of the brown paper wrapped in pink raffia ribbon. I sold out of my book bundles entirely and am hoping that my next shipment of star necklaces arrives soon because I've got several more of these trunk shows coming up. As soon as the necklaces arrive, book bundles will be back in stock online as well. Sorry!
3. Table presentation matters. I was surrounded by some awesome vendors selling some gorgeous products. The tables that looked the best had lots of vertical elements of staggered heights, whereas my books were mostly laid out flat. Time to invest is some book displays.
4. I love my Square reader. So easy to use.
5. Wear flats! The really comfortable kind. After much debate and consultation with supportive friends, I have decided to embrace the bootie trend (although I will always hate the name). Last night I wore a great pair of high-heeled booties and at about hour three of standing up I wanted to throw them out the window. This morning I changed into my regular uniform of skinny jeans and flats. Much, much happier.
6. Get to know the other vendors. They will talk up your products and vice-versa. Plus everyone has really interesting stories about what inspired their products and tips about which shows are the most successful. On my right was this lovely lady who makes such fun mother/daughter necklaces and on my left was this amazing publisher who produces gorgeous books about New England. Both make great holiday gifts.
7. Wine is a wonderful thing. This show had two sessions: night and morning. Night sales were a blast as there were groups women coming through with their friends and an open bar upstairs. An excellent combo for bookselling.
8. Inventory is tough to estimate. It's really expensive to over-order and really frustrating to sell out. Not sure there's a solution for that.
9. Should you come home late at night after hours of selling, do not even look in the direction of your children's Halloween candy. You will regret it the next morning.
10. I love my books. I'm so glad I took this leap. I hope it's just the beginning. Simple as that.