Book Beat Babes

Book Beat Babes

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Kathleen Kaska Shares a Secret About Holiday Gift Shows

Today, I'm happy to host the award winning mystery and non-fiction author, Kathleen Kaska, who gives us the lowdown on Holiday Gift Shows. Morgan Mandel

Kathleen Kaska writes the award-winning Sydney Lockhart Mysteries set in the 1950s. 

Her first two books Murder at the Arlington and Murder at the Luther, were selected as bonus-books for the Pulpwood Queens Book Group, the largest book group in the country. The third book in the series, Murder at the Galvez, has just been released. Look for Murder at the Driskill in 2014. 

She also writes the Classic Triviography Mystery Series, which includes The Agatha Christie Triviography and Quiz Book, The Alfred Hitchcock Triviography and Quiz Book, and The Sherlock Holmes Triviography and Quiz Book. The Alfred Hitchcock and the Sherlock Holmes trivia books are finalists for the 2013 EPIC award in nonfiction. Her nonfiction book, The Man Who Saved the Whooping Crane: The Robert Porter Allen Story, was a George Perkins Marsh Award nominee for environmental history.
Find Kathleen Kaska online at:

Holiday Gift Shows:
The Right Venue, A Great Spiel, and A Cute Puppy
by Kathleen Kaska
            It’s no news that writers have to market and promote their own books nowadays. I’ve always said that if I had to make a living in retails I’d probably starve. But, I’ve learned something over the last few years that has made the task of selling my own books easier. Yes, I still get tongue-tied if I have to ask people for money, but I have no problem talking about my books. I often speak at libraries, book groups, community organizations, and writers’ conferences. Folks who attend these events are there to learn and listen and not necessarily to spend money, which is okay because I enjoy doing those engagements. And most times I pick up a stipend and a few sales. But there are other events, especially this time of year, where I can usually count on big sales.
            Do as many holiday fairs and gifts shows as possible. Unlike the library and seminar crowds, those who attend these events are there to let go of some cash. They’re usually looking for a unique gift, a gift that cannot be found in a department store.
            A couple of weeks ago, I rented a table at a local holiday gift show and sold almost sixty books. By the second day of the four-day show, I had sold out of three of my Sydney Lockhart mysteries. My sales would have been even greater had a prior inventory request arrived on time.
            The cost for participating is minimal, usually just space rental; and for authors, that means a table with a banner or poster advertising your books. At most events, the vendors handle their own transactions. Occasionally, an organization will take a small percentage of the sales, but that also means there is a central checkout so when the dust settles, we get a check in the mail and can have more leisurely time during the event to chat up potential readers. And for me, it’s worth the extra cost. Like I said, I’m uncomfortable taking money from people. So when I don’t have to, I can have fun talking to my customers. If they don’t bite immediately, they often return before leaving to pick up a book or two.
            The trick is to get shoppers to stop at your table so you can give your spiel. Here are a few “baits” you might consider having on hand: a cute puppy, a bottle of wine, a plate of chocolate cookies, or a crime-scene tape around your table. Okay, I was kidding about the dog and the wine. But if the cookies and crime-scene tape don’t get their attention, you can always sidle up to a potential buyer and whisper in their ear: “Have you ever found a body in the trunk of your car?”
Great advice, Kathleen. I love your wit! 
Here's some information on one of Kathleen's books, The Sherlock Holmes Triviography and Quiz Book:

Step out of your hansom cab and onto the foggy streets of Edwardian London with The Sherlock Holmes Triviography and Quiz Book, a comprehensive collection of fun and challenging trivia about the adventures of the inimitable detective whose intellectual feats overwhelmed criminals and Scotland Yard.

More than a century after Sherlock Holmes stepped from the pages of Arthur Conan Doyle’s first detective story, the greatest sleuth of all time is still firmly solidly ensconced in the work of modern literature. Television series, new Holmes writers, Holmes books, Holmes societies, websites, and numerous films have kept Sherlock Holmes fans intrigued with Holmes and Watson lore.

The Sherlock Holmes Triviography and Quiz Book, a finalist for the 2013 EPIC Award in nonfiction, offers brainteasers on each story and novel about the detective and his associate Dr. Watson, as well as background on how Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s own experiences contributed to his literary work. 

“Kathleen Kaska has put together a wonderful mind teaser for all Sherlock Holmes aficionados. She covers it all: stories, books, the media; with lots of questions, puzzles, and trivia facts. No true Sherlockian will want to miss this grand Triviography and Quiz Book.”
Michael R. Pitts, author of Famous Movie Detectives I, II, and III, and
co- author of The Great Detective Pictures
Happy Holidays,

Kathleen Kaska

Please leave a comment to welcome Kathleen Kaska to Book Beat Babes.


  1. Welcome to Book Beat Babes, Kathleen. I think I have one of those crime scene tapes around here somewhere that I picked up at a conference at one time. Maybe I should give it a try at my next book signing. (g)

    Morgan Mandel

  2. You've convinced me, Kathleen. I'm going to look into fairs and gift shows. Thanks for the tip.

  3. Thanks for having me, Morgan. It's always nice to have an opportunity to put in my two cents. I'd love to read what others have to say about marketing and promoting.

  4. Kathleen, welcome to BBB.
    I'll check out local fairs and gift shows too; great tip.

  5. I like the way you point out that people at fairs etc. at this time of year are there to SPEND. Good point. I missed the boat with two of our local ones. Won't be so silly next year. BTW, like your writing style...yup, style. It's unique and punchy.

  6. Kathleen ~
    Thanks for the great advice! It's been awhile since I've done a fair or craft show. It's simple and fun! And it usually brings in $$.

  7. I always have crime scene tape decorating my table when I do one of these. Probably on of my favorite in-person events.

  8. Another author and I just did a huge craft show with over 300 vendors, but we were the only vendors who sold books. We put a large sign on our table that read, "Author Book Signing." I think that's what got the attention of the buyers. And some even admitted that they were looking for a special Christmas gift for the mystery lovers in their families.

  9. Thanks again for having me as your, guest, Morgan. I enjoy these events because folks are always in a great holiday mood, Marilyn. And thanks for the "author book signing" sign, Evelyn. I'll add that to my next event.