Julie McGuff, Bake Sale Runner Extraordinaire
Julie McGuff, Bake Sale Runner Extraordinaire

Written by Bake Sale Veterans, Hope Kiefer and Karen Babich.
October 1991.
Revised September 1998.

Planning the Menu (Before the Convention)

  • Contact us via email: info@otherwiseaward.org, or use our contact form to make sure no one else is planning to hold a sale at the same convention or event. If someone is, the two of you could cooperate.
  • Contact the convention (specifically the hotel liaison), in advance. Describe the bake sale and ask if you can hold it in a public area. Your second choice is a function room. Your third choice is a private hotel room. Advance contact can help you avoid, or make you aware of such pitfalls as corkage fees and food sales bans.
  • If you are able to contact the convention well before the con, try to get mentioned in the progress report. Write a press release, in which you request baked goods. You may reach people unknown to the organizers, who are happy to bake. Round up as many bakers as possible. You’ll have more variety and each baker won’t have to bake too much.
  • Ask for an ingredient list from each baker. This will help sellers guide people with allergies. Common allergies include chocolate and nuts. Remind bakers to label any non-disposable containers with their names.

Ingredients (Bring to the Convention)

  • Small paper plates—5 or 6 inch size, at least 100. Amounts used have varied from 30 to 300. The bigger the con, the more you’ll need.
  • A good knife—to cut cake and cheesecakes
  • A bread knife—to cut breads, brownies and bar cookies
  • A spatula—to lift cakes, cheesecakes, bar cookies, etc.
  • Napkins—Any size is okay; a handful from home should do it.
  • A cooler—For perishables such as fudge, cheesecake, and anything with a high dairy content
  • Signs to post—We recommend 100 or more copies.
  • Copies of The Bakery Men Don’t See and Her Smoke Rose Up from Supper Cookbooks will be made available for sale at some conventions; contact Jeanne to discuss this possibility. If you do sell cookbooks at your bake sale, be sure to keep the money separate from the rest of the bake sale money.
  • Catalogs—If cookbooks are not available or sell out, the catalogs contain forms for mail order. Other Otherwise Award publications are also described and available for mail order.
  • Money—You’ll need mostly singles, but bring a little change, too. A roll of quarters is ideal.
  • Masking tape—to tape up signs
  • Sandwich bags—for bakery-to-go

The Recipe (Do at the Convention)

  • Find the hotel liaison and confirm any agreements you made. Do this ASAP to give you more time to deal with potential problems.
  • If there is a newszine, try to get mentioned in it. Do this right away—the newszine may only come out once, or only once before your sale.
  • Try to get the bake sale plugged on panels. Try especially for panels on gender issues, feminism, or awards.
  • Post the bake sale signs. Post in prominent places near other signs, and near the con suite and dealers’ rooms, where people are thinking of eating and spending money. If you are having a “room party” bake sale (in a private room at night), ask to post signs in other party rooms.
  • Give yourself time to set up. You need to cut brownies, put out plates, and set up the money.
  • Arrange the items for sale, three to a plate, or two to a plate for larger or higher quality items. Charge round dollar amounts: $1.00 per plate, or $2.00 for a slice of cheesecake or other rich desserts. Making change is easy this way.
  • Consider cash storage. Use a cookie jar or a hotel ice bucket. Try not to keep more than $30 or $40 in it.
  • Hand out Otherwise Award consideration forms. Be prepared to discuss the award and note that it is not a nomination form.

Tips For the Gourmet (Optional suggestions and other hints)

  • Bring Tiptree books to help answer the inevitable questions about her and her writing.
  • Serve coffee, tea, lemonade or cider. You can charge for beverages or provide them free of charge. All those baked goods make people thirsty! Be sure to bring cups if you do this.
  • Send letters or postcards to potential bakers. Announce in advance that the upcoming convention will have a Otherwise Award bake sale.
  • Anyone mailing cookies to a bake sale should pack them VERY securely. Broken cookies, especially cookie crumbs, are much less appealing than undamaged ones. Pack cookies by putting the heavier ones on the bottom, and fragile ones on the top.
  • Bring a jar of Tiptree Marmalade. If you can find one, this would be a good addition to your table. Some buyers have expressed an interest in the origin of the Tiptree name.
  • Have authors sign cookies. Do this with frosting. If you can get the author to sign at the table, all the better.
  • Have a silent auction or a raffle for a large item, such as a whole cake, cheesecake, or gingerbread house.

Cleaning Up (After the convention)

For the Non-Baker (Things you can do if the convention won’t let you sell baked goods)

  • Hold an auction
  • Have authors charge a nominal amount (25¢) for signatures and donate it to the Otherwise Award fund.