Running a Booth at the BYU Family History Conference

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.

We took those chapters and put them in a separate book entitled “Reimagine Family History.

Book Sale Anticipation

I went to BYU with six books to sell, knowing the writing book would sell well and I hoped 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.

Book Sale Results

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 the second class of mine on Thursday.


Staffing a Booth Solo is Challenging

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.

Games that Bring Families Together
Watch this video on YouTube.

Interviewing Vendors

At genealogy conferences, the Family History Fanatics wants 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.

Shotbox - A Better Way to Preserve Treasures
Watch this video on YouTube.

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.)

Watch this video on YouTube.

I also interviewed Kimball Clark with Kindex. I really like the possibilities of this service. I learned 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.)

Watch this video on YouTube.

When I was given a few moments away from the booth, courtesy of my in-laws, I went to the 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 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.

Explore Conference Expo Halls

Expo Halls are a great place to see new business ventures.

That’s exactly what I found in Amy Jo Royall Photography ( 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.

Booth Experience Recap

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 that 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.

Devon Noel Lee is passionate about capturing and preserving family stories so no one alive today has to be researched, or forgotten, tomorrow. She has authored 6 how-to books, a memoir, two published family history biographies, and over 60 family scrapbooks. She's an enthusiastic speaker who energizes, encourages, and educates at the same time.

Share your thoughts on this post

%d bloggers like this: