I had a wonderful time selling books at the Bluemont Fair, held Saturday and Sunday (Sept 16 – 17) in Bluemont, VA, an event that I only heard about for the first time about a month ago. This, despite the fact that this is the 53rd annual running of the event and I’ve been living in this general area since 1996.
I sold LOTS of books, as did fellow authors Martin Wilsey and S. C. Megale, who shared the booth with me. We sold tons of books on Saturday, which was absolutely gorgeous.
In this shot, my trusty photographer (Marty), pulls back a little to show the whole booth. For professional sales, note the three racks, one for each author. We even had a candy bowl to help draw people in.
Critical Gear: Racks.
Above, you see me and Marty. Our third compatriot couldn’t make it until Sunday, so we naturally outsold her (she’d have probably kicked our butts if she’d been present). As you can see, it was pretty sunny. We finally ended up putting up a sidewall across the back of our booth (and the one beyond me, to help them out, too), because it was getting pretty hot in the sun. That’s mostly why we were sitting in front of the booth.
Critical Gear: A cooler with soft drinks. And the sidewalls.
We were situated in a sort of “alley” leading from the event’s parking lot to the rest of the fair. That meant that all the attendees, and there were a LOT of them, had to pass our booth going in and leaving. We sold a fair amount of books to incoming folks, but a lot more to people who were leaving.
Critical Gear: Square, for accepting credit card payments.
In fact, we stayed open for as long as people were still trickling past us as they left. As a result, we continued to sell books until almost an hour past the official closing of the event at 5:00 PM. Basically, if nobody forces you to close, then you stay open for as long as there’s traffic.
Personally, Saturday was my best single-day sales total ever.
Sunday was a strange day. It rained. Not all the time, but off and on throughout the day. We’d looked at the weather forecast, though, and were prepared. Above, you’ll see the booth with the sidewalls up.
Critical Gear: Sidewalls.
It was weird that we didn’t sell any books on Sunday for the first three hours and forty-five minutes of the scheduled day. Then the floodgates opened and we started selling. It helped that we told everybody we had plastic bags so they could buy books and be assured of keeping them dry.
Critical Gear: Plastic Bags (especially on a rainy day).
While other vendors were packing up and leaving, we continued to sell steadily. If anything, the disappearance of the other vendors just emphasized that we were still there and doing business. I’d have to say that it actually helped our sales.
Here’s a picture of all three of us, me, Martin Wilsey, and S.C. Megale, during a lull in the rain on Sunday.
While Sunday sales were obviously down from Saturday, they were still pretty good.
Overall, the Bluemont Fair was a great event. Well-run and well-organized, with a ton of moving parts. I don’t know how many attendees there were. I’m guessing 5000 or more, although it could easily be higher.