Just got in from vending at the Ohio Black Expo. I gotta tell ya, it was experience that I will never forget! This was my first time doing such a large venue, but the traffic was NOTHING like the promoters advertised. A lot of us vendors had decided to buy a booth based solely on the promotional information put out by the OBE that the event was sure to draw upwards of 100,000 people. Let me tell you, if 4,000 people walked through those doors in the three days that we were vending, I would be very surprised. We spent the majority of the time networking with one another. Most of the vendors believe that the lack of attendance was due to poor planning and poor insufficient marketing.
The bright spots in our days were the customers who bought our products. They were happy and excited about their purchases and very supportive and encouraging of what we were trying to do. The people who came to our table (Black Coffee and mine) were enthusiastic and pumped about the books they bought. Many were looking forward to going home and reading the books right away. One customer, Jennifer, who is an avid reader plans to read all five her books before bedtime tonight (that’s over 1,200 pages!). Oh, I forgot to mention that Jennifer is a speed reader! More to you, girl!
We met other avid reader readers like Val. Val had a laughing so hard about how tenacious she is about keeping records of the books she loans to family and friends. She does not play when it comes to her books. I believe she just might cut you if you disrespected her babies! 🙂 All kidding aside, I know exactly how she feels. Also, Crystal Parkman came by and bought her book! I was so thrilled and happy to see Crystal!; she looks so glamorous, y’all!
That was an example of the wonderful people we met, due to the lack of proper marketing and planning. Imagine how many more people we could have met and how much more business we could have generated if things were done better.
In spite of that, I had a great time sharing the table with Black Coffee and learning about the ins and outs of self publishing from her. I’m forever grateful for her generosity in sharing some of her contacts with me! That’s what it’s all about, really: passing on knowledge as you acquire it. We’re all just trying to do what we love–write and connect with readers. Sure, we’d like to sell a book or two along way as well. 🙂 Upcoming children’s author, Clydell Harthorne, shared our space as well, helping me bag the books I sold. I’m looking forward to going to the Atlanta Black Book Expo. in Atlanta on September 17