It seems counter-intuitive, or maybe ungrateful, to say what I think of most author fairs, but stay with me a minute. There’s a bright side.
Let me begin by saying that I am thankful each and every time I am asked to do anything regarding my book. It would seem that an author fair would be the perfect avenue for sales for a room full of writers hoping to place their babies in the hands of patrons.
While I do well when I am asked to give a book program, I’ve found that with author fairs – not so much.
The truth of it is, generally there are many more local authors with their book babies swaddled in their arms than there are library patrons passing through with cash in their hands. I generally don’t like the whole vibe of an author fair because I feel like I’m competing with a room full of people just like me. It’s a bit awkward. I wish that I could buy all their books, but I just can't. And they can't buy mine. I also don’t like that vulture-on-the-make feeling that seems to come over a swarm of authors when someone shows an interest.
During the past year, I attended a few author fairs and while the hosts were always outstanding and did their best to make the fairs great, these venues didn’t work too well for me. Translation: I went home with about as many books as I came with. The one exception was the Indiana Historical Society Author Fair in December. It was pretty terrific, and the society even ended up buying some books off me rather than return them as was the original plan. There were tons of shoppers and it was the Christmas season. They came to buy books.
But I must say, I’m looking forward to trying this again from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 26 at the Fayette County Library in Connersville. This time, it comes down to more than just because I was asked.
Library staffer Melissa Scott is pumped about putting together her debut author fair. But what intrigues me about this one is that she is taking the fair to a whole new level. We’re all not just sitting around waiting to pounce on potential buyers. No, there is an agenda that promises to keep the day interesting. We get to share; we get to talk; we get to listen and learn. The selling, of course, would be nice, but even if we don’t sell books, we get to hear things such as how other authors selected characters, location and artwork (from 11:30-12:15). Then over brown-bag lunches, (12:30-1:30) the library staff will talk about libraries and the importance of local authors.
From 1:45 to 2:30, some of the authors will discuss getting books into the hands of readers through the publishing-and-marketing process. At 2:30 we get to do what we love: tell our stories!
This author fair is more like a writing, reading and publishing conference than a run-of-the-mill author fair. And it’s free. Bring a notebook. I know that I will.
Besides yours truly, authors on hand will be Tricia Fields, Tristan Robert Kelly, Alexis Nunn, Betsy Ross, Susan Cohen-Spence and Bess Sturgis. Illustrator Brenda Pruet Kunkel will be there as well.
Another reason I chose to attend is that Connersville is the next town over from Liberty, the one that inspired my women’s Christian fiction novel, Sweetland of Liberty Bed & Breakfast, and the sequel that will be released in late summer 2016.
I’d love to see friends and family from Fayette and Union counties drop by. Let’s talk books. Or, let’s just talk. I can’t speak for the other authors, but I’d be tickled to speak with area women in need of programs for about any occasion. It’s my joy to speak about empowering women. Groups that just might be interested in my work include book clubs featuring women’s Christian genres or cookbook clubs as well as sororities, social or service clubs. Stop by to chat.
The library would love to have you register at: www.fcplibrary.lib.in.us (click on events) or by phone (765) 827-0883. Drop ins are also welcome.