This week three members of our Early Birds critique group had an ‘event’ at Panera Bread in Cary, NC. The idea came from a session I attended at the spring conference of the North Carolina Writers Network, where one of the presenters mentioned that they had had a book sale at the place where they ate lunch once a week. The EBers have been meeting at Panera for two+ years, where we work on our books, and three of us published in the last year. I thought why not have a book sale there? We contacted the manager and he gave us the thumbs up.
After we got permission to use the Panera logo, my daughter, the clever artist, made us a banner (reusable!). I contacted the Triangle Writers group (of which the Early Birds is one small group; we now number over 500), a press release was sent out, and we also contacted a local TV station. In retrospect, we should have done this sooner, more than a week ahead.
We set up shop at 9 AM and handed people bookmarks and cards throughout the day, but discovered that you really need to talk to people to get them to stop by. So I went inside and chatted to customers while they ate and told them what we were about. Shameless self-promotion! For the most part, they were very receptive and kind, and I avoided interrupting anything that looked like a business meeting. Note: Bring a lot of bookmarks, postcard, and business cards advertising you and your book.
We sold ten books, possibly got a gig talking to a book group about our experiences, and had a great time meeting all sorts of people. We collectively decided it was a great experience and plan to do it again next year, when more of our members will have books out and two of us will be on our second!