Pigeon Park Press had a table at the Birmingham Independent Book Fair on 12th April.

Our understated stall

We wanted to explore some of the ways that we might draw people in to look at our books, so we tried to make our table visually attractive and interesting in as many ways as we could.

We made some colourful bunting with the Pigeon Park Press logo on it. If you’re interested in how we made it, there’s a Youtube video! We also painted up a couple of chalk boards with our logo, which we were pleased with. We realised during the day that while the logo was nice and visible, it wasn’t too obvious what our actualname was, as several people asked. This is something we’ll need to fix for next time.

Another idea that we had was the Birmingham Reader’s Map. The low-tech version of this was an ordnance survey map of Birmingham that we spread out on our table and speared with little flags. Each flag represented a story or poem that took place in the location where we placed it. The idea was to show people who live in Birmingham what fictional things take place near to where they live. Lots of people came and helped us to add things to the map during the day, and racked their brains to come up with authors who’d written things set locally. We’re working on an online version of the Reader’s Map, so that we can share it more easily.

So all of these things drew people to our stall, but what worked best of all? Free cookies.
We made them the day before the fair, but cunningly ordered some little rice paper discs with our logo, so that we didn’t have to work very hard to make them look nice. The words “free” and “cookie” seem to work well together to get people’s attention.

Having drawn people to our stall, it turned out that we had a secret weapon.

James Brogden (right) showing that he and Mike Chinn (left) share a sense of shirt style

Author James Brogden had joined us for the day. His (excellent) books are published by Snow Books, but Snow weren’t present at the book fair so he put some out on the Pigeon Park Press stall. James apparently worked in a shop in one of his previous incarnations, so knows a thing or two about selling stuff to people. We watched in awe as he made sure that nobody could glance sideways at our books without being subtly charmed by his patter. It’s possible that for future book fairs, various booksellers will be fighting to have James’s books on their stalls.