Sunday, February 19, 2012

A Successful Saturday at Amelia Island

The 2012 Amelia Island Book Festival was a smashing success, if I do say so myself. It looked a bit iffy in the morning, but people started pouring in around 11 or so, especially when the big-name authors were in doing signings. I sold more than I thought I would, considering the circumstances, and more than covered what it cost to be a vendor, so overall, I'm happy.

S and I got there around 8 and unloaded. The event leader wasn't kidding when she said we would only have room for 1 chair, about 30" of table space (if even). Many authors were unhappy with the setup, and I have to admit, it wasn't very conducive to selling books. We were packed in like a jar of pickles (Ellen, anyone?), off to the side away from the "featured authors" and cramped together with writers of all sorts of books. To my right was a pretty cool older woman named Janet Crisp, who wrote The Heat of the Island about a 50-something woman who changes her life while living in the Cayman Islands. My mom and grandma bought her book, and I'm hoping to read it soon. To my left was a woman who taught me a valuable lesson on what NOT to do at a big author event. Well, I knew this already, but allow me to present this lesson to you.

Aspiring writers, or authors hoping to be a vendor, be kind and courteous to other authors. If the author next to you (and I mean literally right next to you, elbow to elbow) is speaking to a potential reader about their book, answering questions and trying to sell, DO NOT think you are so wonderful that you have the right to interrupt every time that author is speaking. DO NOT cut into the middle of the conversation and say "Well, let me tell you about my book!....Oh, well my book is about something different! It's for ages...." Nothing will make you a hated author more than completely shoving aside another writer to talk yourself up when no one was speaking to you in the first place. Also, don't keep track of how many books the person next to you sold compared to your own sales, and then frequently remind them. It's obnoxious. This is not a competition.

But I digress. I spoke to many readers throughout the day, sold lots of books, and learned a lot about how to set up future booths. I also got a book signed by David Morell (First Blood) for S, and met a potential publisher. I did research this morning and ultimately decided I'm better off publishing myself, but it was still a good contact. I also chatted with some more popular authors, one of whom is buying my book for her "giveaways" on her blog. More details to follow on that.

After the event, I headed over to Books Plus on Centre Street and talked to the owner. We'll be setting up a signing soon, hopefully sometime in April. Then we headed over to see a friend, and made the long drive home after that. S and I were in bed by 8:30 because apparently we are old people who get exhausted after a day of selling books. OH! And I also spoke to the woman in charge of the event about possibly being a presenter/workshop leader next year, and she said to give her a call and we'll talk.

Now I'm going to focus on preparing for my March event, the powwow down in Fort Pierce. To prepare, I have to:
Buy a tent and sleeping bag
Make bookmarks and post cards
Make a big-ass poster of one of my books
Write up an author bio and laminate it
Buy more books

Here are some more pics from yesterday's event:

The room (I'm off to the left. the tables toward the back of the pic with the orange and green cloths are the featured authors.)-

More of the room-

My table setup-

The author to my right-

David Morrell-

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