Though I recently attended a book fair at the main wyberry in Las Vegas, KABAM was the first major book festival I’ve ever attended. KABAM is the Kingman book festival, held annually in Kingman, Arizona. It starts on Thursday and includes writing workshops held at various locations around town and culminates with the big vendor event in Metcalf Park. I initially screwed up the directions and put down Locomotive Park on my Amazon author page. When I was told how to get there, I didn’t realize there were two parks, one on the right and one on the left side of the street after going under the I-40 freeway. Oh well, live and learn.
I was able to get a table under my publisher’s umbrella with New Link Publishing. This gave me the advantage of being able to spend quality time with the bosses. I had an absolute great time talking shop, discussing future releases and other stuff I’m doing with the company.
The thing about working outside is you have to deal with the weather. The previous day, we had a major windstorm in Las Vegas. With Kingman being only 100 miles away, 106.2 miles, door-to-park to be exact, the weather wouldn’t be too much different, except probably a bit cooler since the town is about a thousand feet higher in elevation.
Yup, folks, it was a tad cooler, especially under the shade of a tent! True enough, the extremely high winds did die down like our local weathermen predicted. However, we were still plagued with the occasional zephyr that caused things to jump around. I was finally able to put my new Treasure Of The Umbrunna banner to use. However, it also acted like a sail and I had to tie it down to the tent to keep it from blowing away.
I had a corner table facing a wide open area so I maintained a good spot for people to see me. The only caveat was that we were at the back of the main crowd, away from the sidewalk. It took a while for the people to find us.
There were a good many authors there, most with multiple books. That didn’t bother me, but my space looked a little sparse with only one title on my recently-acquired plastic display stand. This is the one I used at the wyberry event.
Just across the way was our own Deborah Dorchak and Wendy Kelly. Their fantasy series of shape-changer books are quite popular. If you’ll notice, my receipt book and bookmarks are weighted down by my business cards (the wind, again). I was able to give a few of those cards and bookmarks away. The cards have my web site on them and the bookmarks have the ISBN numbers of the paper and e-book on them. Also, notice the back of the book rack to the left. That book rack, which faced out the other direction had all the titles from the conventional side of the publisher. They also included three copies of my book, so I had double exposure.
Now, as for the crowd, just like the previous library event, everyone around me said this year, there weren’t very many people that showed up, not like in years’ past. Some authors showed disappointment while others were more philosophical.
For me, trying to get attention as people walked by was a challenge. A lot of them were other authors and had no interest in buying another author’s book. A vast majority were mothers with kids looking for young adult or kid’s books. Of the adults looking for books for themselves (actual customers), some were not interested in fantasy while others showed mild interest. I gave them a card if they’d take it.
As Jo, my publisher said, ask them if they read. You’d be surprised how many people show up at a book event and don’t read! About half the time it would be, “No, not really, I was just passing by to see what this was about.” Or, “My so and so reads, so I’m looking to see if I need to bring them back.” That could very well have been an excuse, but none of these people were carrying anything.
Whatever the case, only a few people actually bought anything, but they did buy some. Most authors I talked to sold at least one book. A few nothing, but a couple sold several and I imagine others might’ve sold a bunch. All I can say is that I may have made a fan and that’s all I can ask for. I gave out some cards and sparked some interest. I met new people, saw old friends and the most important thing, I got exposure.
Folks, I’m getting out there. Fred Rayworth and Meleena’s Adventures are in the mix.
When you have a book, it’s not going to set the world on fire overnight. It takes perseverance.
I had a great time and consider the trip a success.
Happy writing…and marketing!