Selling Your Book at Farmer's Markets
By Cy Mersereau

Pouring your heart and soul into a book is one thing, but convincing the public that they need what you have written is another matter. I learned early on that a writer must be sold on what he or she has written. One has to rise above negative remarks of those who show little or no interest in what you are bursting at the seams to share.

Long before my book was published, several churches had already invited me to share my material and set up a display, following the publication of The Scripture in Translation. Years of pastoral ministry, mainly in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, along with pulpit supply in more recent years has certainly worked to my advantage. I took note of the many craft sales held in the area and rented a table at some of them.

These events may be of several days duration, or just one day. Some of these give their vendors free advertising prior to the event. Bonnie (my assistant) tracks these craft sales on computer and does the bookings via email. There are also garage sales in higher populated areas. You can rent a space and sell your craft, as well as other wares, including used books, which works for me. County exhibitions usually lasting from 3-5 days represent another opportunity.

What does my display include?

  • My books neatly displayed on a small rack.
  • Some Bibles, including study Bibles.
  • Older translations, such as the Geneva or Tyndale, usually make for conversation.
  • A colorful banner above the table, laminated sheets of various bright colors pinned to a converted closet rod just below the banner. They state the price of my book and some short blurbs in large letters i.e: Read about the KJV debate!!
  • Other wares including used books, if permitted, and free literature.

Stay knowledgeable about you material.

Last year at a craft sale in Fredericton, N.B. I was asked to give a brief history of the English Bible while a throng of people gathered around my table.

Personal Observations:

  • I have placed small ads in several papers, but they are hardly worth the expense.
  • One on one contact works best for me. People enjoy a conversation rather than a strictly business approach.
  • One-day events that begin at mid-morning and end mid-afternoon yield better results.
  • I sell far more books away from home. I have sold many more books in Sydney, N.S. than in Shelburne, or Truro, N.S.
  • I have encountered a few people who were born for disputes about what I have written. Stay sweet and invite them to have a coffee and a discussion. An author touches people of various persuasions and we must never come across as a know-it-all on any given topic. As Christians, we must stay Christ-like and respectful of others at all times.

I accept the selling of my book as part of ministry. I have prayed with people at my table who are facing a health issue or a similar crisis.

About this Contributor:

Cy (Cyril) Mersereau just published his first book, The Scripture in Translation, and has two more books coming out this year, as well as plans for many more. He has pastored churches in Saskatchewan, North Dakota, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, and is an avid reader with an appreciation for theology and history.

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