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  • Writer's pictureMaria P Frino

How to Sell Your Books at Local Markets

Local markets, artisan markets, and craft markets are everywhere. They have a myriad of sellers who enjoy seeing their goods appreciated by customers. These markets help self-published authors to distribute their books. It isn't a wide market, but if you're an author and would like to earn a decent return, selling books at markets can be rewarding.

I mentioned the word, Distribution. It's not one of my favourite words and is one of the hardest things for a self-published author to navigate. Having your books distributed widely only happens when you're traditionally published, and this also depends on the marketing budget for your book. If there is a competitive way for us self-pubbed authors to distribute more widely, please let me know in the comments.

I tried two different distributors when I first published The Decision They Made, my debut novel in 2019, but the sales didn't cover the cost of the distributors' fees. I had to look at other ways to sell my books.

A WHIM AWAY local author banner attached to a table with self-published books by Maria P Frino and Anna Ceguerra, both local Sydney authors. A market stall with a tent cover. Also a poster board showing Sydney Authors Inked books, free author talks at Summer Hill. Readers can meet the authors at these author talks and at markets.
Stanmore Community Markets - every Saturday morning

One way I have found buyers for my books is to sell them at local markets around Sydney. There is a hire fee for the table and space, but I usually share with other authors so this offsets the cost of hire. Also, you will need insurance for the day. Many authors purchase a yearly insurance policy, which can be offset too if you share the space. Some authors like me don't buy insurance, we prefer to share the cost with another author.

One of the authors I know has an insurance policy and when I can, I use hers. This means I share in the cost of the space and the author who has the policy will charge a small amount to cover the insurance. It's a cost-effective way to sell books.

Finding readers for your books is not easy. We have the internet now where many self-published authors place their books on sites like Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Booktopia, and many more. Having these sites available has helped authors sell their books, but it can be hit and miss.

I have found that face-to-face selling is more profitable than selling online. Selling a physical book at a market means I earn more per book than if one is sold online or in a bookstore. With the charges online sites and bookstores expect, 40% to 55% of the RRP of your book, these fees eat away at your profit. By selling my books at markets, I make a higher margin once I take out the hiring, insurance, and costs of printing my books.

Back to finding readers, in any of the face-to-face events I have attended, many book lovers and readers are keen to meet us authors and enjoy discussing our journey and why we write. I know many authors are introverts and you need to be comfortable in front of people, but if you want your book to find its readers, then selling at a local market is probably a good start. Also, joining another author who is selling will help boost your confidence and selling skills.

For me, meeting people is fun and I especially like talking to people who enjoy reading. If you're self-published, you need to find what suits you when it comes to distributing your book. Try your local market, if it works then you will have found a way to reach your audience. If not, there are always bookshops and online. Whatever you decide, I hope you sell books to your satisfaction.

Happy reading (and selling)

Maria P Frino

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Anna Ceguerra
Anna Ceguerra
Nov 24, 2023

Hi I'm Anna, one of the authors sharing market stalls with Maria.

Here is an article talking about what is involved in being a stallholder.

Maria P Frino
Maria P Frino
Nov 24, 2023
Replying to

Thanks Anna, great information here.

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