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Monday, May 23, 2011

National Book and Literary Festivals

If you are an author then going to book events is a must. The problem is finding out which ones are a good fit. Some events are designed specifically for a particular genre, whereas others are open to all. Over the years I have attended several and you take the good with the bad. Some are great for networking but leave the pockets feeling a bit thin, while others have you running back to their website to sign up again for the following year. Here is my experience with the two big ones I attended so far this year.

The first stop was at the Arkansas Literary Festival in Little Rock. The coordinators of the Arkansas Literary Festival left me with a feeling of being had. They had completely changed everything from the previous year. Vendors Row had been reduced to Vendors Alley. We were positioned on the down slop of a parking lot and behind a tall building. If that wasn’t bad enough some poor authors didn’t even have the promised tent covering. They were set up directly in the sun on a 90+ degree day even though they paid the same amount as everyone else. The area was too far from the building in which the presentations were held and signage was minimal. As a matter of fact my car was actually parked on a side street and blocked the one sign I did find. It was not a good day for anyone. Many of the other authors on the so called Vendors Row were expressing their disappointment as well so much in fact many did not return the following day. In total maybe 25-30 people wandered past. I had more guests and sales at a ladies night in my home two weeks after the event.

After the nightmare of Arkansas I was a little on the nervous side about attending the SC Book Fest in Columbia. The difference was night and day. This event was well organized and publicized. From the moment you pulled up there were staff set up to help you unload and you were directed to your appropriate location. Even though I wasn’t in a prime location, not in the main hall, there was traffic driven to my location. Readers came by in droves making the day not only great for networking and enjoying my fellow authors, but good on my pocket book.  The Chairman was even kind enough to stop by and check on us. I will be returning.
Now I know registration fees can be overwhelming but have you ever thought about sharing a space? Don’t look at it as competition. In some cases I have seen people make sure to buy both authors just to show support. The key is getting your name out there. No one will ever know who you are if you don’t get out there to meet them. Start out small. Find events close by in which you don’t have to spend the night. Whatever you need to do to get out there do it. Not all will be great but you never know what it may lead to. 

Next stops for me are three book signings in Mississippi on May 28 http://conversationsbookclub.blogspot.com/2011/05/sat-may-28-2011-award-winning-author.html, then on to Chicago’s Printers Row from June 4-5. Hope to see some of you around!

Omegia Keeys
Passionate Playmates
Can You Keep a Secret
Unloved (anthology)
The Baby Girl (YA under Key Rollins)

Thanks for stopping by Omegia! Great to see you out on the grind and making a name for yourself. Sometimes we authors tend to forget about what is needed once we complete a book.

A few other large book events
Decatur Book Festival
Texas Book Festival
Miami Book Fair

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