Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Notes on an All Day Event

1. Arrive early. The check-in lines are shorter. Half an hour after this photo was taken authors were standing eight deep at check-in.

2. Knitting does not sell books, but it does attract other knitters.

I shared a table with an author who was knitting a scarf during the book fair. While she knitted she missed lots of people who would probably have bought her book if she had shown more interest in them. Other knitters stopped by and talked to her about what she was knitting but I never once saw her use that attention to talk about the book she came to promote.

3. Keep water, mints, and anything else handy that will help your throat when you do an all day event. Eight hours of continuous talking is hard on your voice. I must have spoken to at least a thousand people about my book. Only a handful bought a copy, but a lot of readers were interested in learning more about me and my writing. I answered every question, passed out cards, and talked until I sounded more like a frog than a person. Most of all, I enjoyed every minute of the time I spent with readers.

4. Attract attention. Stephen Zimmer has this one down. His presentation featured a huge banner, postcards, bookmarks, and lots of books. Books were stacked on every inch of his table. Readers could find him easily in the crowd and spent some time with him.

5. It is great to have friends. Several of mine from the Ohio River Valley sisters in crime stopped by to wish me well. Some of them met up at my table and posed for a picture, before going off to lunch together.

6. Speaking of lunch, don't expect to have time to eat. My pals may have lingered over lunch, but I was taught that it is rude to talk and eat at the same time. The staff of the Kentucky Book Fair brought lunches to our tables. Mine sat there while I continued to talk with readers. The moral of this story is that if you are going to do an all day event, make sure you eat breakfast.

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