Public Book Selling Events


Try as we might, we can’t ever seem to take pictures at these events where we are actually engaged with anyone. We manage a quick shot setting up and then that’s that.

Yesterday, I did a book selling and signing event at a local grocery store that has agreed to carry my book. (Cue up the band to play some sort of celebratory music, because getting a store to carry a self-published book is not easy. In this case, I have local going for me and that counts for quite a bit more than people realize. Kudos to MarketPlace IGA in Port McNeill, BC)

Here is my analysis of the event.

Pluses of sitting out in a public space selling a copy of your own book:

  • Selling copies of a book you have written. (dah!) (10)
  • Seeing people you haven’t seen in years. (10)
  • Meeting new people. (10)
  • Talking about your book. (10)
  • Talking about the process of writing a book. (10)
  • Creating a buzz about yourself as an author. (10)
  • Putting your public presence right up there with your book and showing people that you are proud enough about having written a book to sit in a public space and suggest people buy it. (10)

Minuses of sitting out in a public space selling a copy of your own book:

  • People show up in bunches, and you don’t get to give each person the attention you would like to (8)
  • There are times when no one talks to you at all (this is exceptionally difficult – if you ever see anyone sitting out selling anything, go and talk to them. You don’t have to buy what they’re selling. They will be grateful if you engage them. Most artists love to talk about their work.) (10)
  • Seeing people you haven’t seen in years (because you specifically chose not to see them – oh well, being in public is being in public.) (5)
  • Wondering if everyone feels sorry for you for sitting out in a public space selling a copy of your own book. (5)
  • Sometimes going unnoticed by people you thought would take notice and make a big deal. (or even talk to you) (7)

Lest you get discouraged because there is a minus list, look back to the numbers after each point. These refer, on a scale from one to ten, to the level of satisfaction or dissatisfaction related to each point. (ten being the most satisfied or dissatisfied and one the least)

Satisfaction points – 70

Dissatisfaction points – 35

Being satisfied with the process doubles any dissatisfaction.

This is a valuable way to view any situation in life. Go beyond simply listing pros and cons to applying a weight to each point. It gives a more realistic picture.

So, there you have it folks. Go public – it’s worth it.


(I would love to sell my book on this busy street in Quebec City.)