Last weekend, local book sellers, authors, and publishers got together to brave the (seemingly) 115 degree Nebraska weather and put on a book festival. It was the Nebraska Book Festival 2017, and it was a really cool event, even with the terrible heat.
I attended and was stationed at the Nebraska Writers Guild table. We were fortunate enough to have a tent that provided enough shelter for not only the 2-3 of us at the table, but also for our books, which worked out really well, because who wants to buy a faded book, right? So I brought ten copies of Holy Fudgesicles with me and proudly displayed them in a prominent place at our table. And then when it was time to go, I packed up ten copies of the book and went on my merry way.
What’s that? Yeah, I can do the math. 10-0=10. I didn’t sell any books.
But you know what? That’s quite all right.
The purpose of participating in events like these isn’t always to sell books. And even if you don’t sell any (and this was my second zero-sale event, by the way) you will still benefit from participating.
And think about it for a second. As an author, why would you attend a book fair? I see several reasons:
- To sell books.
- To connect with readers.
- To network with other authors.
- To network with publishers.
And perhaps most importantly, to practice and improve at those four things.
So even if you don’t sell any physical books, you still have ample opportunity to sell the next best thing: yourself.
And at the Nebraska Book Festival, I think I did just that. I had a couple of great conversations with readers and aspiring writers. I have some really good chats (and marketing brainstorm sessions) with a few of the other writers at the table. I met some upstarting publishers, and was also able to chat with a publishing house who has not only been around the block for a few decades, but was also the editor who graced me with my first short story rejection 🙂
And while I was packing up ten copies of my novel, I wasn’t packing up any business cards. They were all used up. And I did see a surge of traffic in both this site and Theme of Absence, so we must have done something right.
Anyhow, I’d like to close by saying that it was a really nice, and well put together, event and I thoroughly enjoyed participating. I want to thank the Nebraska Center for the Book for having us, and look forward to attending next year.
Have you participated in any author or book fair? What has your experience been like, either as a writer or a reader? Leave a comment and let us know!