To Market, To Market: What’s a Nice Author Like You Doing in a Farmers’ Market Like This?

“You’re selling your book at the Farmers’ Market?”

I could try for a real metaphorical stretch here.

“See, my book, it, like, grew from my imagination, and I, uh, watered and tended it through several drafts, and, like, weeded the extra words out, and then, like, harvested it and cleaned it up all nice. So, yeah. It’s really fresh, and, oh! Totally organic. And local. And gluten free. Want to try a sample?”

But I really don’t have to go there. Let me refer you to the Lopez Island Farmers’ Market Vendor Guidelines:  “…products must be produced, grown, gathered, created, hand crafted or prepared by the vendor.”

Produced–check. Created–check. Crafted–check, though not EXACTLY by hand. And…prepared? All those drafts, you kidding? Most definitely Check.


Gotta give credit where credit is due: I never would have thought of book-selling at our Market, much as I love it. My friends Ty and Nora, fellow garden fairies, gave me the idea.

What a blast!


The first time I went, over July Fourth Weekend, I sold 15 copies. Granted, seven of those were to people I knew, so that probably won’t happen again. And of course I bought some stuff: eggs. A bunch of lavender. Salmon-and-goat-cheese crepe. (Did I mention our Farmers’ Market ROCKS?)


But still, even with the Market dues, I came out ahead, financially. And socially? Off the charts.

I brought my guitar and sang away, quietly, as people strolled by. Pretty soon I realized the horrible acoustics of the Great Outdoors meant I could sing as loud as I wanted to. Bingo. People heard me, smiled, stopped. The songs provided a bridge between us: no uneasy eye contact (“Oh shoot, if I look at her she’s going to try to sell me something!”). Plenty of time for folks to peruse my display, reading the words from Amazon reviews which I’d enlarged and posted (on fluffy paper “clouds,” since my book’s about a flying girl 🙂 ).

Most of all, plenty of good feeling. They immediately liked this person, sitting there singing-not-“selling,” and felt good about talking to her. After we’d chatted a while, even if they had started out thinking, “What in the world would I want with a Young Adult book?”, they might then think, “Y’know, the neighbors’ kid likes to read…I’ll get this for her.”


Thanks, Ty and Nora! And thank you, Kristen Lamb, for the reminder: buying a book from someone you don’t know is a risk. These days, it’s an author’s job to reach out and take that risk away.

Who knew it would be so much fun?

I’ve met folks from Belgium, Japan, Mexico, and Australia. I’ve talked to random strangers about their flying dreams. (“In YOUR dreams, do you fly arms-out like on my book cover, or do you have wings, or…?”) I’ve sung harmony with other music friends who happen by. I’ve had my own, private Cute Dog Contest, watching the pooches stroll by (puppies win by default).

So I feel just fine about busting into this new gig, selling my “produce.” And hey. Did I mention my book is also gluten free?

Want to weigh in on Farmers’ Markets? Do you think they should just be for farmers? Or do you like having craftspeople there? Ever sold anything at a market yourself? Or…if you could, what would you sell?

4 thoughts on “To Market, To Market: What’s a Nice Author Like You Doing in a Farmers’ Market Like This?

  1. This sounds like a perfect “selling my book at a local farmer’s market” story. love it. and I love to see you “doin’ your thang.’ (to quote our former students 😉

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