What I Learned as a Vendor at The Brooklyn Book Festival 2018
Written on Monday 17 September 2018
I was super excited to have a vendor table at the Brooklyn Book Fair. Since I am a local business (like literally, my practice is two blocks away), I felt that this would be a perfect fit for me to showcase my book locally as well as spread the word of my local business and maybe promote my upcoming podcast. So I ordered 50 copies of my book, printed lots of freebies, hired my friend to help me out during peak hours, and got excited.
The day of the show, I quickly found out that my table wasn’t there. I kept searching and searching and nothing. Come to find out that my table was given to someone else as their table was taken out for some reason. I hunted for a staff member while lugging my stuff and was told, “Oh, I don’t know what happened but let me give you this corner table here.” This corner table was right by one of the main stages. I was concerned about the volume from the microphones but it looked like all the other tables were taken so I had no choice but to take what they gave me.
Shortly after setting up, I was approached by what appeared to be an event coordinator, and got yelled at that I wasn’t supposed to be at that table as this was the table for author autographing. I told him I would gladly move if they provided me with a table and assistance to move everything. He then told me that I could stay there after all. So now i am ready, in a corner table, ready to sell books and talk to people.
Sadly, I spent more time trying to get people not to walk through my area to get to standing room section of the main stage than talking to actual potential customers. When I approached event volunteers, the only thing they could offer me is a table to block off people from walking through. However, this caused a second problem. Now, folks were either sitting on the table and blocking one whole side of my table, possibly preventing more potential clients from coming.
The one opportunity I got to walk around, I saw that the festival had little in the way of self-help, LGBT writing, spirituality and independent self-published authors. It seemed like it catered to the Lana Del Rey emo reading or John Grisham reading population. And people are just nasty. One guy said, “Oh, so you only have the one book?” At the end of the day, I sold 3 books and lost over $600.
All in all, I learned that the Brooklyn Book Festival just isn’t for me, as it is set up right now. They do have a lot to learn in way of diversity for their festival and clearly in set up. I am grateful for the experience though as I met some cool people. I won’t let this set-back keep me back.
Tags: brooklyn book festival, lgbt, writer, author, book fair, book festival, brooklyn