How Authors Can Get the Most Out of Trade Shows
As an independent author, if you want to increase book sales, you need to let more people know your book exists. You can market your book through different media outlets such as blogs, magazines, podcasts, radio shows, and television. But how do you find these media outlets? Trade shows provide the perfect opportunity. Last year, I attended the Christian Product Expo and National Religious Broadcasting shows.
Christian Product Expo
The Christian Product Expo (CPE) was created to provide Christian bookstore owners with a venue to order books and products for their stores. If they place two orders at the show, they are reimbursed for their travel expenses. My first CPE and accompanying Book Signing Personality Party resulted in my IngramSpark sales quadrupling and my books being carried in numerous Christian bookstores. Therefore, I attend annually. The CPE is held twice annually in different parts of the U. S. Therefore, bookstores from various regions of the country attend.
The night before the expo begins, fifty-plus Christian authors display their books at the CPE Book Signing Party. Over one hundred Christian bookstore owners visit each author to receive a signed book. I signed and gave away many copies of my books. These owners get a great selection of Christian books that they can choose to carry in their bookstore.
The Christian Indie Publishing Association (CIPA) represents members’ books at the show. At the CPE CIPA booth, members’ books are displayed along with a handout. As Christian bookstore owners peruse the booths for books and gifts to carry in their store, they can order the CIPA member’s books from the CIPA booth. If you are interested in having CIPA represent you and your books, take a look at the information at https://christianpublishers.net/trade-shows/.
National Religious Broadcasting Conference
The National Religious Broadcasting Convention is the world’s largest gathering of Christian communicators and offers a unique opportunity to reach media and ministry professionals. My CIPA membership saved hundreds of dollars off the convention price. The opportunities that arose from this conference pleasantly surprised by.
Before the conference, I contacted media outlets that CIPA sent me for potential interviews resulting in a podcast interview that was performed at the conference and a Faith Radio interview a couple of weeks later. A radio station I contacted asked if they could use my healthy living YouTube clips on their station in between their shows.
There are three parts to the NRB convention. First, an expo with over 700 exhibitors that took three days to peruse. Next, there were broadcasting classes I did not attend because I am not a broadcaster, nor did I pay for this portion of the conference. The third part was a press room where all forms of media interviewed attendees. Interview opportunities may also arise while you are there.
They announced my book signing in the NRB program, and it was so well attended I ran out of books before the hour was over. I also sold my books and met conferees while sitting at the expo CIPA table during my daily scheduled time. A trade show provides you with the opportunity to promote your masterpiece and ministry passionately.
At the NRB conference, I was filmed for a 10-minute slot on a television show. I was also invited to be on two other Christian television talk shows with expenses paid for except airfare. I met many hybrid publishers who were interested in publishing my children’s picture book and cookbook. Since both include colored photographs and illustrations, I did not want to self-publish. One of those publishers was impressed with my marketing skills as demonstrated by the success of 7 Steps to Get Off Sugar and Carbohydrates, a #1 Amazon best-seller. The publisher followed up with me, and we are signing a contract for me to be his authors’ writing coach. I am a Certified Advanced Writer and Speaker Association Coach.
In the writing industry, developing professional relationships is key to expanding your platform and income. Having multiple sources of income is prudent. I also met two conference directors who showed an interest in having me as speaker next year. The contacts you make at conferences are invaluable, and you do not not know how those contacts will blossom to fruition in the future.
As writers, our words have the power to influence people’s lives. Our message will encourage others and transform lives. Attending a trade show is spiritually and monetarily advantageous. Our ultimate goal is to further the kingdom of God and help people. A trade show gives us the opportunity to spread God’s message through our prose.
Marketing should comprise a large part of an author’s work. When more people know about your book, you will get higher sales. Developing an intentional book marketing plan is crucial, and attending a trade show should be a component of that plan. Are you doing enough to market your book? You are the point person promoting your book and ministry—so don’t miss the opportunity a trade show provides.