… and sometimes you’re going to lose. It’s something I often find myself saying to other traders at events, whether it’s a surprisingly good show or a frustratingly bad one. But accepting that it’s something of a gamble every single time is pretty much essential if you’re going to do event trading.
Sure, sometimes you have to accept that your low sales are partly down to your own mistakes – you brought the wrong stock because you didn’t do enough research on the likely customer base for this specific thing, or you overestimated the desirability of your stuff when you set your prices. Sometimes something unexpected happens which has a major impact on footfall for the event, for which no one can be blamed.
Over the past year or so, I have been experimenting with a wider range of events, partly because (as some of you will know) when I get as far as setting up the Actual Physical Bookshop I will want a wider customer base than just the kinksters, much as I love you. I did one such gig last week and didn’t do terribly well. It was my second one with this particular organisation, who I won’t name at this point because I hope to do more with them in the near future and I don’t think they did anything wrong. It was a little galling as it took place far enough away from home to make a hotel as well as a pricy train ticket unavoidable. But every gig’s a gamble, so try not to lay out more than you can afford to lose.
I have already given up, pretty much, on author signing events. They do not work well for me, though plenty of other indie authors love them and find them useful and lucrative. But they are not for me. I am, if anything, better at selling other people’s books than my own. However, if you are a new author with only one or two books out, they are probably a much better bet for you than taking a pitch at even the smallest fetish market. People at author signings are at least looking for books, rather than whips, clubwear or handcuffs. They are also very often brilliant networking and friend-making events. Again, every one’s a gamble, though.
I have signed up for a local Pride event, about which there will be more in the near future. I’m hoping that applying all the lessons I’ve learnt so far will lead to an enjoyable day out and, even if it’s not hugely lucrative, it won’t involve major losses.