Selling at Fairs and Such

Yesterday I attended the Ottawa Small Press Book Fair for the second time as a vendor, right on the heels of Prose in the Park. I really enjoy the fair – there are some awesome small presses from Ottawa and elsewhere who attend regularly, such as Rob Mclennan and Chaudiere Press, new publication Canthius, and my friend Michael Casteels, who heads up Puddles of Sky Press out of Kingston. I also find there’s a great energy around this fair; it’s been going for a while, and though the vendors are sometimes different each time, there’s always a sense of fun and camaraderie in the space.

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I didn’t make out too badly this time around, in that I sold enough chapbooks to come out ahead, after the cost of my table. I’ve been lucky to have done that both times at the fair and at Prose, which is encouraging since I’m very new to the chapbook business. One thing I noticed this year, though, is that while I sold a handful of copies of my new Archives and Word Association with Writers books, my best seller is still Science is for Real, even though it was published last year.

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I’ve been pondering why that is. I love Science is for Real, but I also love the stories I’m re-releasing through Archives and the poems I came up with for Association. My thinking is that, maybe, Science intrigues people more because it’s a really unique premise and the design stands out (thank you, Linda Crosfield), whereas the stories in Archives are a more mainstream within SF, and so they only catch the eye of particular people at something like Prose. From a business standpoint, then, my best bet for future fairs might be to produce something more similar to Science (maybe even a sequel) and see if Archives and Association do better down the road, when I can sell them as additions alongside my novels.

Luckily the next fair won’t be until the fall, so I have lots of time to decide on this. If you’ve read Science is for Real and think that a sequel would be cool, let me know!

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