Last week I had the opportunity to speak at a fundraiser called Booked for Lunch which was sponsored by the Assistance League of Georgetown Area. The 250 or so attendees paid $20 for a box lunch and an opportunity to hear the authors speak. There were three other local authors there who I knew from the San Gabriel Writers' League. We were given tables at one end of the hall to exhibit and sell books. The doors opened at 11:30 so there was time for the attendees to view the books before lunch began.
After lunch, the authors spoke for 15-20 minutes each. After the first two did their presentation, there was a break which meant another opportunity to talk to the authors and purchase books. Finally, after all had talked, there was time to sell books once again.
I sold a few books before lunch, but most of my sales were after I told them about the book. Several people bought more than one because they knew someone who would like to have it. I didn't presume they wanted it autographed, but most asked me to sign the book. One came back with a book purchased earlier and got me to sign it.
The other authors had multiple books for sale. I only had one. One of the others sold out and took orders for more books than I sold altogether. The book in demand was A War of Her Own, by Sylvia Dickey Smith, a novel about a woman in World War II. This author also took credit cards while I could only take cash and checks.
In addition to the poster I have of the book cover, Celeste suggested I take the framed awards the book has won. I think this helped. I also handed out bookmarks. I made a special sign showing the price of the book and the sales tax. The resulting price was $10 to make it easier to make change.
One person said she would love to read the book, but she prefers Kindle books. I told her it was available on Kindle and for only $5.99. I gave her a bookmark to remind her of the book's name, and she asked me to autograph it. The next day, Kindle reported a sale. For future events, I should include a sign or poster announcing the book is available on Kindle and iPad as well as other eBooks.
I wasn't sure about what to say when it came my turn to speak. Of course I had planned for it for weeks, so I don't mean I was not prepared. At other events, I vary my presentation to match the audience. This time I decided to talk about why I wrote Where Love Once Lived and how I studied novel writing to make it happen. I then read to passages from the book. I read the beginning of the book up to the point where Karen leaves the classroom to go to the book mobile, and the section from Brian's viewpoint where he and Liz leave the school. I thought this audience might enjoy meeting Liz, but the comments I got later indicate they also liked what I said about writing.