Expanding Family History Fanatics With a Booth – BYU Conference Recap (Part 4)

Family History Fanatics Booth 2017

Andy, Caleb, and I are constantly trying to expand our reach as the Family History Fanatics. We’ve decided to invest in having booths at the conferences we attend. Though I have a degree in marketing and worked conference booths before, it’s something entirely different when you participate as an entrepreneur.
The first thing I attempted to do was define the scope of the BYU Booth. The Family History Fanatics turn a profit when we sell books. Before the July event, Andy and I frantically turned two books from eBook only into printed versions. Being the kind of gal that I am, the transformation from eBook to print version involved an entire rewrite of Power Scrapbooking and Family History Scrapbooking Simplified. (These books had longer titles initially when they were released in 2009 and 2011. So, I revised more than just the spelling on the inside of the books). My husband transformed his book “How to Fail English With Style” into a print book, with a new book cover as well. Thankfully, his memoir featuring the struggle between himself as a high school student and his English professor’s view of what he needed to be successful in the future (which, is now) did not need internal revisions.

To Order Our Books, Visit My Author’s Page on Amazon or click on the Book titles in this post.

That’s three of the six books I had available for purchase. The other two titles (A Recipe for Writing Family History and From Metal to Rhinestones: A Quest for the Crown) were available before RootsTech 2018. That left one more book to prepare. As an author, some concepts just don’t do well. My beginner genealogist book 21st Century Family Historian is such a situation. The first six chapters of the book focus on helping beginners see the big picture of genealogy. It’s a ‘What To Do’ book, not a ‘How To’ tome. So, we took those chapters and put them in a separate book entitled “Reimagine Family History.” I went to BYU with six books to sell, knowing the writing book would sell well and I suspected the scrapbooking books would sell well as I would be teaching a seminar on them. The beginner genealogy book could sell well if there were enough newbies at the conference. The two memoirs would sell for people who wanted to purchase all six books at a collective discount price (Buy More and Save) or for people who just wanted a fun read. Several people took us up on the fun memoirs with the premise, “I’d like to see what someone else has done before I tackle my own life story.” One woman told me at the start of one workshop that she’s already begun reading “From Metal to Rhinestones: A Quest for the Crown” and my voice came through perfectly. She could hear me reading to her as I told the story. She had attended my writing workshop on Tuesday and was now in a second class of mine on Thursday. BEST COMPLIMENT EVER!!!

Best In-Laws Ever!
My mother and father in-law helped staff my booth so I could eat, teach, or take rests. Thank you BJ & Russ. Love you!!!

My next hurdle for the booth was a lack of additional bodies to staff it. I attempted to partner with others but couldn’t find anyone who could work the booth while I taught my classes. My in-laws, whom I adored long before the conference, said they’d be happy to help me out. They were back from China and planning to visit family in Idaho and friends in Provo. So, they could spare a few hours each day to help me out. My father-in-law is a great salesman, and my mother-in-law is a surrogate mother who is proud of me. Both of them did a great job promoting my YouTube channel and selling books. They treated me to ice cream from the BYU Creamery when all was said and done. I have the world’s greatest in-laws in more ways than one. At genealogy conferences, the Family History Fanatics want to promote other businesses who provide services to the greater genealogy community. Doug Ladle from The Connections Games loved my interview so much at RootsTech 2018; he recommended Greg Stroud with Shotbox take me up on the offer to ‘interrogate’ him.

I enjoyed this interview, even though towards the end you can see me moving my arm. A crowd was approaching, and I was trying to signal to the vendor hall explorers to wait just a few minutes so we could finish. That’s one of the blessings of having more than one FHFanatic on location. However, we powered through and finished the interview without anyone walking across the camera and pulling cords.

During my beginner’s photography course, I promoted Shotbox as an option for photographing your small family treasures and books without trying to figure out light and lightbox technology. The expense of the lightbox system can reduce your photography learning curve. Gotta love trade-offs! (BTW… I don’t receive any compensation for you buying a Shotbox, but if you watch the YouTube video and leave a comment, you can help promote their service to others.)

Interviewing Kimball Clark, co-owner of Kindex

I also interviewed Kimball Clark with Kindex. I really like the possibilities of this service. I learned about what you can do if you have ‘mysterious’ pieces in your genealogical archive or if you find things while at flea markets or estate sales. Kimball also walked me through the process of using Kindex. I was afraid the video of him working on his computer wouldn’t turn out well. The video capture was better than I expected! Hooray. (Once again, watch the video and leave a comment or question for Kimball, or me, so we can spread the word about Kindex.)

Click the video to watch Kimball’s interview.

When I was given a few moments away from the booth, courtesy of my in-laws, I went to the Ancestry.com booth. They had sales reps for the overall subscription service as well as AncestryDNA. I mentioned that I would like to tag the match results, rather than use the star or circles that Ancestry currently offers. Rayna (check name) gave me a tip, and when I went home, it worked! It worked so well, I went home and made a video about it! You have to check it out here:

Click on the video to learn the hack.

Expo Halls are a great place to see new business ventures. That’s exactly what I found in Amy Jo Royall Photography (http://amyjoroyall.com/). What’s unique about Amy Jo is that she provides preservation related photography. She can photograph family heirlooms (including china, jewelry, and medals) and homes. Many people will take ‘real estate’ photos of their homes. Amy Jo photographs homes from a heritage/storytelling perspective. It’s really fascinating. She’s based out of Washington State but has ties to Utah. Check out her website and consider hiring her if photographing your home or heirlooms is too overwhelming. In the end, I sold more books than I had anticipated. I promoted my YouTube channel like crazy. I invited people to participate in an eConference that benefited a local society. I learned I needed to give people something to take home more than my business card. I had planned on doing just that, but a spelling error discovered at the last minute killed that idea. For the next booth experience, I need to design take away marketing materials. Do you have ideas of what you like to take with you from a vendor booth? I’d love your feedback.

One final note, though this could a separate blog post. The booth couldn’t have worked without the help of Melissa Finlay and her family. Melissa and John have two cool apps “Little Family Tree” a fun family history game for young children to engage with their ancestors and “Genquizitive” with is in beta testing right now. This web-based app is a super fun, competitive genealogy game. My family and I love playing the game so check it out! 

A cute face to end the day with.

Anyway, Melissa offered to let me ride to the conference with her and offered me dinner each evening. I met Melissa’s children, and the youngest daughter let her know that I was coming to see the blonde, pint-sized cutie. Melissa was worried I would be bothered. Her little darling was absolutely charming. Unfortunately, a migraine ruined my first night with the Finlay clan and sent me to an early bedtime. The next evening, I did everything I could to have the energy to play with the youngling. We built puzzles, played games, and more. She was such a treat of sunshine after a long day. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the conference, but it taxes your energy. Melissa’s little one rejuvenated me. So, thank you Finlay family. You’re the best far-away family a girl can have. Our branches might not cross, but we’re family in spirit!

The next booth featuring the Family History Fanatics will be RootsTech 2018. We’ll be selling our books, promoting eConferneces, and conducting interviews for our YouTube Channel. We’re thinking of giving away T-Shirts for people willing sign-up for our mailing list. The kids also like the idea of making family history related book marks.

Family History Fanatics
Meet the Family History Fanatics at RootsTech 2018

Make plans to stop by and say hi in late February in Salt Lake City. I will have two partners in crime… my husband and the young one! So it will be the YouTube trio while the others stay behind to do school work. 

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