Just this past week I was fortunate enough to win a lottery pick for a date at the Big E in Springfield, MA. The Big E, formally known as The Eastern States Exposition, is billed as "New England's Great State Fair". It's the largest agricultural event on the eastern seaboard and the fifth-largest fair in the nation. And it also houses six separate buildings, one for each New England state. Since I'm from Rhode Island, I'll be representing our Association of Rhode Island Authors organization on October 1st. We'll be sending a different author each day of the seventeen day event.
Now comes the tricky part. Using past estimates, roughly 100,000 people go to the event on a per day basis. You read that right -- 100,000! That's a lot of freakin' people! Being an engineer and using my math skills, if 1% of those people are fantasy fans and willing to buy books, that means I could sell upwards of 1,000 books in a single day! Great, right? Yes but ... no. How many books do I need to bring? If I purchase 1,000 author copies of my first book, The Overlords: Legend of the Treasure, that would cost me around $6500! Sounds great but I've never sold even close to that many books in FIVE YEARS let alone a single day. So, what to do?
First, I'll bring my whole inventory with me that day. Since the fair's in October and I have three Comic Cons and a Double Play Breweries Book Signing tour scheduled throughout the summer, I won't have a good idea of my inventory until Labor Day. Second, I'll figure on purchasing enough author copies to have 100 copies of my first book, 25 of each subsequent volumes (books 2 to 4), and at least 100 copies of my baseball memoir Love Winning. Yup, that'll be a lot of books with a hefty investment. However, that investment will be in myself. If I don't believe in me, who else will???
So, by the looks of it, I stand to sell a lot of books throughout the summer, culminating in the mother load on October 1st. How about you? Is there anyone out there that's done a huge, one-day event and, if so, what was your game plan? I'm looking forward to the challenge and will be sure to report back with my findings.