The Buffalo Small Press Book Fair is complete, and for my first event, I am pleased. I managed to break even on most of the expenses, barring just food and gas to the event, but as it was also a chance to socialize with friends, and those items are a tax write-off, I’m considering it a success. I’ve actually had quite a few experiences with art shows and conventions, and there is always a potential for a huge loss (especially if you have to add in hotel cost to the mix).
The event itself was lovely. It is always a good opportunity to see what other writers and artists are doing, how they set up their displays, chat about your experiences, etc. The Buffalo community is an extremely indie crowd, very supportive of local work, and very willing to try something new. As it was free to the public, there was always a heavy flow of traffic. Downsides to the event – the first day, I was put in an upstairs room with stair access only, so that may have decreased some of the traffic, and the historic building that the event took place in was freezing cold the entire time. I also have a very hard time sitting with nothing to do, but the tables were so crammed close together, I felt like I couldn’t really occupy myself when the crowds ebbed.
Here is a slightly blurry picture of my set up from the first day, including a profile shot of me conversing with my neighbor, the awesome Madeline Claire Franklin.
Some of the many things I’ve learned:
- The artwork drew people over to the table, but didn’t lead to any sales of the prints. A different crowd, maybe, would have been more willing to buy, but I definitely need to decide if I want to invest the money into carrying the stock with me in the future.
- In some other poetry imprints’ opinions, I am undercharging on my Little Book, especially as it includes illustrations. I’m not going to be change the price anytime soon, but it is something to consider if I do further releases in the future.
- I need to probably start going to poetry readings if I want to get more people reading the Little Book. I hadn’t ever considered this before, and the thought of doing it makes me a little uncomfortable, which is a sign that it would probably be a good thing for me to do for personal growth. I won’t have any time until mid-July to start researching this, but it is percolating in the back of my head.
- It may be a smart idea to get together with some other writer friends and create our own small press label, to then be able to have a sign on the front of our table. It lends a little legitimacy to the self-published author, even though it is ridiculous that one still has to play the legitimacy game in this day and age.
Other than that, I had a lot of fun looking at the vast assortments of beards and mustaches on the men, both those vending and in the general crowd, had some great conversations with fellow writers and artists, had a fantastic Vietnamese meal with friends, and got to soak up the ambiance of the Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum.
And now, I am offering an enormous sale on the leftover prints at my Etsy shop, including an amazing bundled deal, where you can get all three prints and a signed copy of the Little Book for just $25. This will probably be the lowest I ever sell these at, so if you’re interested, take advantage! I will have the sale available until I run out of my current stock or until the Etsy listing expires.