On Saturday, I attended an author book fair in a local library. It was attended by writers of all genres. I shared space with a writing friend because we knew each other’s books very well. We were located in a large hall and the arrangement of tables round the edges and in the centre enabled people to visit every writer. Children’s writers were placed appropriately in the kids\ section of the library and when I went through there authors were busily talking to both adults and kids. It’s an excellent idea to show children that the book they enjoy was written by an actual person.
The fair was a lively and noisy occasion. Visitors discussed books with their authors while authors exchanged stories with other writers. I met someone i had worked with years ago and he told me about his work. Then he visited my table and asked about my books.
I can’t say that the fair was a financial success for me. I didn’t sell any of my books although two were given away to raffle winners. The raffle seemed to be successful to promote our books. As far as selling is concerned, it was hard to judge the level of interest in someone who walked up to our table. If that person asked a question that was easy. I could answer and then lead the discussion into more specific aspects of my work. I felt rather like a spider waiting for a fly to wander by or even worse like a salesman pushing second hand cars. If the visitor actually looked at me instead of muttering and passing by then I could assume he or she wanted to talk. I appreciated those visitors even though they didn’t make any purchases.
I had agreed to read from one of my books for ten minutes even though I had the feeling that the audience would be small. I was right. On the array of chairs sat three women and a fourth attended half way through. She was a friend of mine and maybe I should have cajoled and bribed a group of my friends to fill up all those seats and clap wildly at the end.
So, as an author, what did I learn? Many women and men in our area are writing and publishing their books. Business cards are picked up and I was glad I brought mine. I had thought about making bookmarks and noticed some useful ones on other tables. One woman handed out postcards describing her book, another form of promotion I had considered. The most valuable of the day was meeting other authors and book lovers. Good old networking, I guess. You never know where these connections may lead. Would I attend another fair? Yes, definitely. It was a tiring but good day.