If you are planning to sell books through the school there are two approaches:-
Sell on the Day
A few weeks before the visit, contact your local bookshop or regular supplier. Find out which books I will be featuring on the day and order more copies of those. Many bookshops will let schools have books on a sale or return basis, some may let the school have a share of the takings.
The Bookcase bookshop in Lowdham, can arrange to have books delivered directly to East Midlands schools on a sale or return basis and offer a 15% discount to schools (so the school can keep 15% of the takings if books are sold at cover price). However they don’t provide a bookseller, so school staff or volunteers will need to handle sales on the day. The Bookcase require one week's notice to arrange a delivery. You can phone children’s bookseller Louise Haines on 0115 9664143 or email the shop to discuss the possibility of The Bookcase supplying your school.
Whoever supplies your books, let parents know that they will be available for sale. Send out a list of titles and prices so children can bring in the right money.
Please ensure that a bookseller, at least one member of staff or a parent helper is there to take the money and ensure that the children have paid for their books before I sign them.
A disadvantage of selling on the day is the difficulty in gauging demand. I did one signing where the school ordered hundreds of books but only sold about a dozen. On the other hand, if the school only orders a few books, it’s not unusual for a particular book to sell out, leaving some children disappointed. With this in mind, you might like to consider the following alternative approach.
Sell in Advance
This approach requires a bit more preparation but has the advantage of familiarising the children with the books in advance of my visit.
A few weeks before the visit, arrange to borrow a selection of my books from the library service. If that isn’t practical, then the children can see excerpts from all my books by looking at the “see inside this book” pages on this web site. Check which books are available with your local bookshop or supplier and then send out an order form with titles, prices and the address of this web site. Another advantage of this approach is that it is a guaranteed order, so the bookseller is more likely to offer the school a discount or a share of the cover price. If the bookseller is not able to offer a discount, you may be able to purchase books at a discount by ordering through an online retailer. Either way, you should order the books well in advance, to ensure that they arrive in time for the visit.
If you do intend to have a book signing, the best time is probably at the end of the day. If this isn’t practical then make sure you build time for signings into your timetable. Another advantage of selling in advance, is that it gives you an idea of how much time will be needed for signings.
Children often ask me to sign autograph books and even scraps of paper. I’m happy to do this, but once I’ve signed one scrap of paper, the number tends to escalate rapidly. So, if time is limited I would be grateful if teachers can ensure that children with books to sign are given priority.