“What’s Fair to Charge for an Author Booth?”

Updated: Dec 7, 2019

Having a literary event? What should you charge participating authors for a booth to sign copies of their books in?


First of all, “Yay, you!” You stopped waiting around for someone to invite you to their literary event and decided to host your own. That’s great! You’re going to have some amazing authors signing copies of their books, but you’re not quite sure what to charge authors for the booth.


We’ll, there is a great deal to be taken into consideration, such as those things listed below:

-How many days is the event?

-How many hours out of the day will authors be able to sign?

-How much foot traffic are you expecting?

-Are you marketing to people who are going to actually come out and spend money?


The booth amount should be based on those items above as well as several other things. But another important thing you have to ask yourself is how many authors do you plan on selling booths to. There is nothing worse than a well put together and well-organized event in which the authors funded the entire event with their booth fee, yet there are very few attendees for them to even almost make their vending fee back (this doesn't include expenses for authors who have traveled).


If you only plan on having 100 attendees come through, then please only sell 10 author tables for no more than $75 or $100 each. If that won't even cover the venue you have in mind, then find another venue. That gives each author a better chance of selling more than one or two books.


If you have 30 authors and only 100 guests coming through the doors, it's not fair that the authors' vending fee footed the bill for the event, but their return might not even cover what they paid to park.


What you charge authors for a table should be based on how many attendees you plan on bringing through the door and, once again, if they are there to simply look around, network, meet their favorite author, or to spend money. You can guesstimate how many attendees may come through the door based on your intended marketing and promotion efforts and budget, as well as the feedback you are getting from social media, or RSVPs from Eventbrite.


No, you can't guarantee that every author will sell a nice amount of books, and most authors know that you win some and you lose some when vending, but some event organizers have been putting on the same event for years, selling 20-30 author tables, knowing they don't get the foot traffic to make it a win-win for everybody. And there is nothing worse than a room full of grumpy authors who end up buying books from each other out of boredom or sympathy. Yes, there are those occasions where the authors truly want to support one another, but for the most part, it’s out of pity for one another.


Energy is transparent. You want to do your best to incite good energy among your vendors. Bad energy from disappointed and anxious authors makes it not such a great event for the attendees either. The discouraged authors may pounce on a passerby like used car salesmen, or huff and suck their teeth at the person who, after spending 20 minutes at the author’s booth, doesn’t bite and buy a book. You want your event to be a great experience for all involved, and you can start by pricing your author booths honestly and fair.


BLESSEDselling Author E. N. Joy is the author behind the “New Day Divas” series, coined “Soap Opera in Print.” She is an Essence Magazine Bestselling Author who wrote secular books under the names Joylynn M. Jossel and JOY. She writes children’s and middle grade books under the name N. Joy. Her fist non-fiction book, Act Like an Author, Think Like a Business: Ways to Achieve Financial Literary Success, releases March 26, 2019 and is available for pre-order purchase until then. You can visit E. N. Joy’s website at www.enjoywrites.com

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