I took a satchel of busy work with me to the Fayette County Public Library Authors Fair yesterday, thinking that I would get some paperwork done during the 11 to 4 stretch. I didn't. The authors there were far too interesting.
Generally at an authors fair, I don't spend much time visiting with the others. It can simply be, at least for me, too overwhelming to listen to everyone's various pitches about their stories and the stories behind their stories. It also makes me feel guilty that while I am telling them how interesting their topics are, I am not reaching for my wallet. It's simply impossible to buy everyone's work. I have to remember that I am there to sell, not to buy.
The one thing that helps me remember that is that they are not buying from my table, either.
But it's not often that I run into "local" authors that are, when I use the term "local," from my hometown area. In Connersville, there were several that were and we immediately found common ground.
The most commercially successful author there Saturday was Tricia Fields of Liberty who writes the Josie Gray Mystery Series for St. Martin's Press. She was also the most subdued and humble person there. She has her work down pat: She knows that she needs to crank out 2,000 words a week to release a new book a year. Tricia and I have a dear mutual friend in Debby Williams of Rushville.
I had a delightful visit with Susan Cohen-Spence, a retired Connersville teacher who penned a children's book about Connersville history. Susan also has deep roots in Brownsville as her mother was a Boggs. She grew up playing in Brownsville, visiting her aunt and uncle Dorothy and Ralph Boggs and their sons.
And then there was Brenn Pruet Kunkel, an illustrator whose close family members lived on a farm near me growing up and I knew the Rigsbys well as we rode the school bus together. Brenn also is friends with my illustrator, Marilyn Witt, and was around while Marilyn was working on the cover!
The event included a delightful retired Richmond teacher, Jeanne Nordstrom, who has released a memoir of her 41 years in the classroom. Also, one-time ESPN anchor Betsy Ross, a Connersville native, was in town to sell her book about women in sports, Playing Ball. And, children's author Bess Sturgis, a professional storyteller from Cambridge City was there.
When I headed home, I took Grand Avenue and drove by Spartan Bowl. It has been decades since I was there. That sunken gymnasium doesn't look big or special in any way. Not on the surface. But what a palace it is inside; a blast from the past when everyone went to high school basketball games on Friday nights. I have watched some amazing basketball played in that special place. I wish I had taken a photo. Why didn't I take a photo?
All told, I sold two books. I bought three. It was not a financially lucrative day. But there are other ways to measure success and one of them is in the people who come into your life and connect with you.
Last night, one of these authors was on Facebook telling her friends about MY book and suggesting that they read it as local lit. So you never know what pathways open up in new ways.
I only know that nothing is wasted.