Growing Your Audience at Book Fairs

Back & Forth with Sven and Nevs

by Sven Davison

Since this month is all about growth, I’d like to discuss growing your audience through attending book fairs. Book fairs are a great way to meet new readers, shake hands with existing fans, hobnob with other writers, and see how your peers draw traffic to themselves. But to elaborate further, here’s me and my doppelganger NEVS giving you the skinny on all things relating to book fairs.




Sven Davison, author and YouTube host of Author/Author

Sven Michael Davison, author and YouTube host of Author/Author

Sven Michael Davison is the author of Blockbuster, a satirical look at action films and the people who make them. He has also penned The God Head Trilogy, a post-cyberpunk tale that examines the darker side of singularity theory, mass effect, and artificial intelligence.

Sven spent many years in Hollywood trying to break into screenwriting while writing trailer copy for movies like Beavis and Butthead Do America and The Relic. He then launched the DVD Production and Content Group for Twentieth Century Fox and spent ten years managing the department where he was responsible for all special features on DVD, Blu-ray, and UMD media.

In addition to hosting the YouTube channel Author/Author, Sven is close to releasing a memoir about traveling to all seven continents in seven years as well as putting the finishing touches on a contemporary fantasy trilogy.


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12 thoughts on “Growing Your Audience at Book Fairs

  1. I totally agree that book fairs provide a good experience. I write horror and sell most of my books at conventions. I’m not at the break even point yet but I am getting my name out there. And that’s what it’s all about, right? 🤪

  2. Thanks! Good timing, as I have been considering the LA Book Fair. But I know how huge and expensive it is. On the other hand, an acquaintance of mine got a book deal…that later turned in to a TV deal…as a result of going to the L.A. Book Fair.

    1. Congrats to your friend, Melissa. That’s fantastic news. If you haven’t tried it, you should. It’s a good experience no matter how you look at it. If you can pool your resources with other authors, it’s even better.

  3. Great presentation of the pros and cons! And great timing, since I’m about to head to my first LA Festival of Books (as a guest, not an author) next month, so this gives me some great perspective. I’ll definitely be keeping a closer eye on what the authors and booths are doing that works (and doesn’t) to file away for future use.

  4. OMG, I love this video! Very clever. I’m glad I read Greta’s comment because I didn’t realize that there was a “Nevs” rebuttal and would have stopped the video after Sven’s excellent advice. Nevs, however, is my kind of guy!
    My introverted version of going to the LA Times Book Fair is walking around with my children’s book in my hand, arm across my chest, cover facing outward. My second tactic is to put the book face up on the table whenever we sit down to have a Coke or a hot dog, all the while hoping someone will ask where I got such an obviously charming children’s book! My third approach is to arrange several copies in a fanned-out array on the floor at whatever lecture I’m attending. Needless to say, none of my methods have worked, although I was able to GIVE away a free copy of “Lucky, the Left Pawed Puppy” to a little kid I noticed was writing with his left hand at the book fair. (I put that down as an advertising expense on my taxes. )
    My next idea was print the cover of my book at home on one of those 8 1/2 x 11 transfer sheets and iron it onto a T-shirt that my husband and I would wear around the fair all day. I’ve given up on that idea since T-shirts after 70 aren’t all that flattering an item of apparel.
    So, maybe I better play this video again and take notes. I think I might have better luck following Sven’s advice.

    1. Hi Billie,

      Glad you enjoyed the video. It’s definitely hard to put yourself out there. If you and your husband can swing it, take a trip up for field research and jot down what you like and don’t like. Before I spent money on a booth, I walked around and figured out how I wanted to approach the fair. I’ll admit that I really didn’t have a good strategy until my third year paying for booth time. My video is a culmination of those trials and errors.

      In the end, do what works best for you.

      Best of luck!

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