Being a sucker or at least game to try anything, I decided to give our local Saturday Market a try. My partner in our flower business already had a booth at the market. Once her dahlia tubers were sold she had extra space, she was happy to share her booth with me.
At long last, the week before market day came. On Tuesday I got a call from my business partner. She was lying on the ground in her garden waiting for the aid car to come haul her away. I told her firmly, “You cannot be hurt. We have a wedding to do this week and you’re the one who talked to the bride.” She moaned her acknowledgment of our business obligations.
Late on Friday we finished the last of the bouquets for the wedding, and I drove home with the car’s wipers swishing the rain off my windshield to prepare to sell books at an outdoor market. We haven’t had rain for months and it isn’t supposed to rain in the Seattle area in August. It was raining. I knew the ground at the market would be damp, and it might continue to rain.
Desperation made me creative. I carefully stowed my books in our waterproof picnic coolers so I could set them on the ground, and the books wouldn’t get damp. The coolers with their handles proved to be much easier to carry than boxes of books. My precious hubby stayed up late Friday night packing my car with everything I’d need at the market.
I did need some peculiar stuff for the market. My easel needed weights to keep it from blowing over in the breeze. Hubby filled some heavy plastic bags with rocks. I could clamp these to the legs of the easel. Of course I’d need water to drink and a picnic lunch. I could have bought something at the market, but I didn't want to get my fingers greasy.
Absolutely everybody warned me that on my first visit to the market, I might not sell many books. Market goers would need to get used to the idea that I was there. The warnings proved to be prophetic, but I did have some successes. I found two more writers to add to our Vashon Writers’ mailing list. I sold two of my books.
Now, as writers we agonize over the blurb on the back of our books and perfecting our short sales pitch. We discuss details of making a pitch, genre, and target audience. My first customer bought Lies That Bind because, “I’m traveling and have a long flight. I want a big fat book.” Well, that’s one way to choose a book. I did a great job of pitching my books to my second customer. She chose Something About Maudy because, “It’s the thinnest and I don’t have much time to read.”
Okay next week I might just go for the basics, “Fat books, skinny books and two books just medium sized.”
Once I was home again to recline on my sofa, I calculated my profits. My wage for spending five hours at the market and another hour loading and unloading my car was somewhere around $.25/hour. Such is the life of a writer! I’ll try again in a week or so.