A Most Frustrating Vendor Experience

I paid for a table at an Octoberfest in a nearby Texas town, to sell my novels, especially my newest release “Lady Gwendolyn”.  Saturday (Sep 28) was the date of the festival.  Not only did I pay for the booth, I was required to donate items for a silent auction, plus sign a statement that I would stay there until 8 pm before breaking down my table (penalty for not staying was losing a $20 deposit).

I didn’t mind doing those things — until I got there.  A music area was set up for a live band, for a karaoke contest, and later for an auction.  The sound was too loud all day, so much so that people could barely hear me greet them as they walked by.  They could barely even hear each other.  Subsequently, sales were dismal.

At 6:30 the auction began, and they cranked up the volume to the point that it became physically painful.  I could not subject myself to the pain, with no chance of making any sales, so I asked if I could leave.  I was told by that person that I could.  When I asked to get my $20 back, someone else showed up.  They had to talk to whoever was in charge, who sent me the money with the message that since I’d broken my contract with them, I would not be allowed in as a vendor for the next year.  No problem.  I won’t be back next year — or ever.  How can they expect vendors to stay for over an hour of that kind of physical torture?  No one was coming by the booths.  They either were at the auction, or had left to escape the noise.

While I didn’t stay until 8, didn’t they also break the contract by not supplying vendors with an environment conducive to sales until 8?

What a strange, frustrating day.

4 thoughts on “A Most Frustrating Vendor Experience

  1. puppytd

    I would think they should have provided an area for vendors where you could hear what potential customers were saying. I’m so glad I found your blog. I haven’t tried and book signings yet. My book is too expensive for me to buy, let alone anyone else. Thanks so much for sharing your experience.

    1. blackwolfbooks Post author

      This is the first time I’ve ever encountered this problem. Please don’t be put off by book fairs and other events by this one post. Usually, I meet a lot of great, friendly people, both as customers and as fellow vendors. Thank you for taking the time to post a reply. I really appreciate it.

  2. Matt Syverson

    I live in Victoria, TX, and I do lots of market days, festivals, etc., and this is fairly common. The organizer in some cases do not consider that almost all vendors have to make a sales pitch of some sort, and it doesn’t take that much volume to disrupt that and make you about to lose your voice by noon. And screaming a synopsis of a novel to somebody just ain’t right. The only thing I would suggest is dropping an email to the organizers to make known the difficulties they caused. In many cases, they are completely unaware of it and may do things to fix it in the future. Better luck next time…

  3. blackwolfbooks Post author

    Matt – I’ve never encountered this magnitude of a problem before. It really threw me. I left my comments while at the event. I know a few other vendors around me were going to do the same. Hope it makes a difference. I’ve been considering signing up for the Scottish Festival in Jan., but now I’m not so sure. I’ll have to ask the planners some pointed questions first.

    Thank you so very much for posting a reply. I truly appreciate it.


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