Teganjaz Books Presents...Author, Tracy L. Darity

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Tracy L Darity
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For the past couple of weeks I have been a street vendor at the Tampa Downtown Market. The market is geared towards fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as plants and flowers. There is always a mixture of hot foods and arts & crafts. As an author, it is a little difficult to get in. As a matter of fact, it is nearly impossible and had I not been raising money for my friend Shelley Ulmer who was participating in the 100 mile bike race for MS, as well as an upcoming trip to Bali, Indonesia with Habitat for Humanity International, I never would have been given the opportunity. But once you’re in, it is best to take advantage of the opening because it is well worth it. The vendors in and of themselves are their own community. The market patrons are supportive and will tell others about you and your products whether they buy or not.

 

 

This past weekend I had the opportunity to travel to Tallahassee, Florida and participate in the 2nd Annual Book Fair, which is an addition to the Tallahassee Downtown Market. The book fair was sponsored by the public library. I wasn’t sure what to expect but have learned that expectations don’t really matter as long as you show-up with a positive outlook and an optimistic attitude.

 

 

 It became quite clear after about an hour that the patrons of the book fair were on a mission and that mission did not necessarily include the vending authors in attendance. I finally took notice of the rolling bookcases and it dawned on me that the library was selling used books. If history was an indicator, those books were going for $1 - $3, a deal that is hard to compete with. There were also a couple of “featured” authors on hand giving lectures. In a nutshell, this meant less sales if any at all. So I spent the day greeting visitors and telling them about my books, as well as passing out as much literature as possible. By the time 2 p.m. rolled around I had did pretty good for myself. Not only had I sold books but I had met some wonderful people who were encouraging and full of words of wisdom. One of my favorite customers was an older lady who wanted to buy one of my “as is” books, which are left over advanced reader copies, and books that have been damaged during my travels. I sell the books for $7.00. She had three on her and said she would go find her hubby to see if he had the rest. She spoke to him and then walked away. I looked down the street and saw her in the car going through ever nook and cranny. She returned 10 minutes later with a hand full of change. She counted her money out and there was $6.90. Before I could say don’t worry about it, she pleaded, “Please tell me you’re going to give me the book because I really want it.” There was nothing to consider, the book was hers, even if she had come back and said she only had the $3.

 

Reflecting back over my experiences at the downtown markets and other events, I want to share something that has become crystal clear to me. Being in the publishing industry is really hard work, and if you do not associate yourself with the right people it can be a bit much to bear at times. Everyone has an opinion on what you should and should not be doing; what sells and what doesn’t sell; what readers want and what they don’t, and the list goes on. I have come to this realization; there are millions of books sold every year. It is good to listen to constructive criticism, take in what is being said and determine if it is beneficial to your success. But at the end of the day you must stay true to who you are and be proud of what you are producing. People buy books for different reasons and what one person may not like about my or your work, ten other people may love. So the goal is to connect with those who like what you are doing and worry less about those who think you need to change or conform to a certain model. Okay, I’m climbing down from my soapbox but before I go, I want to thank my big brother Quint for stopping by, as well as the gentleman who said my cousin Bobbi told him to go buy and support her cousin. Like the motto say’s, Teganjaz Book Presents….taking over the literary world one reader at a time.

 

 Until the next time.

 

May 19, 2010 at 12:05 AM Flag Quote & Reply

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