Saturday, August 25, 2012

Lessons Learned at a Book Fair

Today was the annual Author's Fair over at Bob's Beach Books in Lincoln City.  It was not a success for Mandy or I, neither of us sold a book.  We also arrived right as the fair was beginning, when our goal of getting there at 10:30am was derailed by psychotic traffic (which included following, then losing complete sight of, a stretch limo with a ballsy chauffeur).  We were squeezed into our reserved table and set up our table as best as we could.  There was no room for Mandy's cardboard collage that she made showcasing our books, no room for her framed copy of our newspaper article announcing the release of ACW, and no room for me to display copies of ROTCT!  I wasn't so bothered by the last one, as it would have upset the balance of books at our table...two titles each plus our collaborative book right in the middle.

For three hours we smiled and greeted anyone who would look our way, which was few.  There was a dismal amount of interest in our books.  We were complimented by our cover designs and titles, but no sales.  Most people would take one look at our books, then walk right by.  I didn't see a single person there who seemed like the type to read kindred spirits.  Every fellow author who I saw struck me as the type who writes for a hobby, not for a passion.  The only other artistic spirit I sensed was in David Delamare, who was once again there to sell and autograph prints of his amazing art.  I brought with me two prints that Mom and I have been proud to put on our walls for a few years now, and he very graciously autographed them for me in gold ink.  I'd seen him before at previous fairs, but had never said anything.  I'm glad I did :)

The main lesson I learned while taking part in this fair was this:  I am in a whole other writing universe than the crowd that shows up to these author fairs.  While they seemed like nice people, I got a clear sense that I was an outsider...that I was not "one of them."  I need to seek out other venues which would cater more towards poets and their audience, maybe a poetry slam or open mic night.  I found out that for very cheap, I can rent a room at the library to hold book signing parties.

I also learned that I need to learn how to write a proper press release.  If I wrote one and sent it to the newspaper, it would get printed in the Community section for free.  That would give me great exposure for my books and my blog.

Next year, Mandy and I will depart for the fair much earlier, so we have plenty of time to prepare our table space and get comfortable.  It took us nearly an hour to drive 30 miles.  Absolutely ridiculous!

Wanna see the view from our table?