irumeur..., Publishing, Writing & Marketing
Comments 3

Dayton Book Expo

I’m finally home again.  The book expo taught me so much, I am very grateful for the lessons.

What did I learn at Dayton Book Expo:

  1. Make your table stand out
    • Lots of people only brought their book and business cards.  People still stopped, but I didn’t see many sales.
  2. Practice your 30 second elevator pitch
    • I went to the meeting the night before to learn everything I can.  I thought I had my elevator pitch ready and I barreled through it with pride.  Oops -I talked to fast, didn’t say the name of my book, what genre it was and I hadn’t even thought of the order I should say it.  Boy, was I grateful for the excellent advice I received.
  3. Have your support team wearing your image and the image of the book.
    • This was an idea that I kind of got from one of the ladies that runs the Dayton Book Expo.  She had these wonderful t-shirts with embroidery faces of ladies inside a heart that said, “I love (myself).”  I thought how cool would that be to design my own t-shirt and have those helping me wear it.  I still believe I should dress professional -but it would be walking advertising.
  4. Stand in front of your table and greet people
    • Those that sat behind their desk -even though they were warned the night before to stand in front -had a very long day of sitting alone.
  5. Have others listen to your elevator pitch and work at it -until it grabs them
    • You can never hear this enough.  That elevator pitch helped me sell my book over and over.  Don’t work on this alone peoples -you’ve got to hear what others say.
  6. It pays to pay the extra dollars to get attention
    • Seeing my book in the huge pamphlet passed out to every person who entered was thrilling.  But, what really hit me was when a woman walked over because she read it in that very pamphlet.  She bought the book also.
  7. Use archival ink pens and date your autograph
    • I loaned one of mine to the man next to me.  I learned this prior to leavin and made a special trip to Bloominton to et one.  I don’t know why buy (my “” the letter in et, uy, ood, and reat isn’t workin all of a sudden.  Odd)  I want my signature to stick around (hey, spell check fixed this one)
  8. When pictures are taken, tilt your book slightly forward to get rid of the glare
    • When I went up to the podium to talk about my book (another plus to extra dollars), I still didn’t think about my book cover bein seen, and it lares.
  9. Get connected with the other authors
    • I know we all have a competitive nature, but leave it outside.  I made a point of helping them out, and they returned the favor.  It suddenly occurred to me that most people do not like to be the first to sign anything.  So, I walked around signing the other authors email list.  I explained to them why I was doing it, and asked them to return the favor.  Everyone who came to my desk made sure they left an email address.  Authors went out of their way to come to my table also.  It was a win-win.  Now, I not only have emails of potential buyers, but authors to share ideas with.
  10. Dress nice and behave like an author
    • I think this goes without saying.  People want to be impressed by you.
  11. Know the details before you get there
    • If I hadn’t taken the time to go to a training session the night before I would have missed out on so much, including knowing where to park to unload.  Worth the extra effort, rather than showing up and spending time trying to find out, and blunder your way through.
  12. Always discount your book
    • Even if it’s only a dollar or two.  The people that come what to see you, and get that book at a discount with your autograph.  Come on, make them happy and sell more because of it.  Remember, it isn’t only your book they want, and they only have so much money.
  13. If there is an author panel -do it
    • Did I sell any books because I did the author panel -I don’t know.  Maybe.  What is more important is getting use to talking to others like an author.  Confidence is fundamental is this marketing game.  Even if I messed up (which I did) I have it behind me, and my confidence level soared.
  14. Not just any candy attracts them -get chocolate
    • This was a tidbit my mom told me.  I took a ton of lifesavers and I think one person grabbed -1.  Those with chocolate -they were the real hit.
  15. Have promotional items to hand out
    • There were so many items I didn’t have.  Yes, I had book markers and business cards, but there are also these postcards that have your book up close on front and a little synopsis on back -really cleaver.  What about mugs, pens, magnets,  t-shirts, and other things to sell or give away?  Take a look and see what all you believe will be beneficial.  It is about getting them to your table and your book staying on their mind. 
  16. Take more books
    • People like to see lots of your book, so don’t let the numbers dwindle and not be able to refill.  Let the public see you refilling is what I think you should do.  Let me know if that works.
  17. Wear flat shoes
    • If you’re standing in front -you’ll need them.  Ugh, it was a long day.
  18. Always bring something to drink
    • Our book expo did have food in a separate area (for sale) but who was able to get away and get something.  Fortunately, I was smart enough to take water, and I snuck in a couple of pieces of banana bread (I kept it hidden) and was able to at least put something in my mouth.
  19. Make sure the focus of your table is on your book, and not the cute stuff sitting on it.
    •   This was another one of my observations.  We would talk amoung each other about other tables.  There was one in particular another woman said I had to go see.  It was adorable with her business card carousel (funny how none of them were of her book) and cute little standing frames that she thumbtacked a little note inside, and the sweetest chalk board with writing on it.  Do you know what I don’t remember?  Her book!  The focus, always the focus of everything on that table you lead you back to that book.
  20. Not many people had a book trailer -but they were successful in getting others to watch them. 
    • I had mine set to continuously replay.  What I didn’t remember was to bring headphones.  Odd, it never occurred to me that a book expo would be noisy.  The guy next to me had a whole lot more people watch his book trailer because he provided headphones.
  21. Win them over
    • Be charming.  People will stop and listen to you if you win them over.  This one man was so charming he was top seller for the day.  What really surprised me -he’s never read a book.  He actually admitted that he’s never read anything more than a Sport’s Illustrated magazine.  Yet, he wrote a book, and was top seller.  Boy, did that speak volumes.  Nice man -I wonder if his book is any good…
  22. Sights I learned about -worth taking a look at
    1. APE -
      • This is an informational site for independent authors How To Publish A Book
    2. R.R. Bowker -
      • A self-publishing book site made easy _They help you get your ISBN and I think your barcode.
    3. Lightening Source -
      • Some controversy on whether this or createspace is the best, but the long-time independent authors at book expo recommended this site for printing your book.
    4. Create Space -
      • Book printing site
    5. Video -
      • Video’s for book trailers like istock
    6. IPPY -
      • One of the highest selling authors there had won the IPPY Award and even went to a book expo in New York.  Worth looking into and see if you can win the next independent author award.

The Big Question:  Did my book sale?

Yes, I sold several books and donated one to the Metro Public Library

This entry was posted in: irumeur..., Publishing, Writing & Marketing


I am a mother of 16 children and grandchildren. Some of them are by blood and the rest by heart. I was a foster mom for a few years and the children I cared for during that time have mostly stayed with me through the years. I love to write, read, dance, paint, and play with my animals. I enjoy dressage riding and just being in the barn. My words are my gift, as they allow you to know me as I really am. Thanks for joining me on this ride of life!


  1. Great post on the Expo and I completely agree with all of it. I didn’t participate in the panels, but next year (if I have table help) i plan to do so.

    Thank you for sharing your insights!

    Liked by 1 person

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