A couple weeks ago I shared some photos from SOKY, a book festival in Bowling Green, Kentucky. It’s an opportunity for readers to meet authors and discover new books. It’s also a great chance for writers to have fun together.
Today, I thought I’d share a few tips for how to make the most of a book fair experience.
1) Readers, be sure to bring a bag for all the awesome books you’re going to discover. Do you see all those tables behind me and the books in front of me? Those are going home with you. You think you’ll be strong, but the books will call your name. My oldest bought three books — all hardcover. And then I bought a book for those left at home. I purposefully didn’t buy any for me…but that only lasted until Bloomington.
2) Authors, bring comfortable shoes. You really want to be ready to stand and talk to people. It’s too easy to disengage when you’re seated and let people walk by without a word. You have to be nicely assertive so that they’ll slow down long enough to say hello. Next thing you know, they’ll be looking at your book.
3) Authors, sit with friends. It makes everything much more interesting. You can talk about your friends books and they can point people to yours. Also, be sure to have something to hand out to people. Many people said they were going through once to look at everything that was there. Whether they got back to my table, they now had my bookmark that they could look at from the comfort of their home.
4) Readers, ask to get a photo with the author. You will absolutely make their day. If you’ve read our books, let us know. If you haven’t, tell us what you like to read.
5) Authors, have a SHORT pitch for your book. I had two WWII books as well as Beyond Justice there, so I would quickly state that Shadowed by Grace is about the Monuments Men traveling up the boot of Italy, and Beyond Justice was compared to John Grisham and Joel Rosenberg by Library Journal. Both were quick and let readers know in a moment if these were books they might be interested in.
I hope these tips are helpful. Book fairs are a lot of fun–and exhausting–even for this extrovert.