I had trepidations–attending a reader’s festival, sitting in a booth hoping people would come visit me. I’ve been to book signings where no one but my best friends and family were there to support me. Would this be the same? Surely my writer’s group would show up!
I had all of my books there–eight on teaching technology to K-8 and one showing high schoolers how to crack the Naval Academy application. I wondered if I had enough. Or too many. Would people notice if no one came to chat? I dressed in my USNA gear, figuring that would garner attention–more than if I dressed like a computer virus.
A friend shared the booth with me–that was wonderful. She is outgoing and vivacious to my reserved and shy, so I’m not sure I would have done it without her. We both added a friend’s book to our shows–she another fantasy writer and me, my fellow blogger Cheri Laser’s second novel. We set up last night, arrived early this morning with coffee and donuts and high hopes.
It was a blistering day in Southern California–108 degrees. We were worried the heat would keep the attendance down. It did–at least below last year’s levels–but our booth was busy, noisy and exciting. Our eclectic mix of fantasy, mystery and non-fiction how-to seemed to provide something for everyone. Glorianne and I chatted, mixed, explained, hawked and generally had a wonderful seven hours. We drooped in the humidity and heat, but the enthusiasm of the readers made it all worth while.
The City did a wonderful job, providing lots of water to vendors and attendees. They had music and entertainment sprinkled throughout the grounds. We had a story-telling theater two doors down and a local DJ across the quad. Mingling with the crowd were characters from popular books–Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz, Huck Finn to name a few.
My son came and kept me company during the afternoon. We escaped at least twice to the AC in the community center next door. I lotteried off the books that didn’t sell (didn’t want to take them home), packed up and got home by six. Tired. So very tired. I can’t take that kind of heat anymore.
Overall, if I hadn’t sold a single book, I would have been thrilled to meet my readers, find out what they thought of the books and make those all-important connections. If any of you are wondering whether a festival venue is worth it, let me provide this first-hand advice:
Here are some pictures I took there: