A Book Fair to Keep in Mind

By: Dennis Bates

Have you ever promised to do something before you stopped to think. I was going to go on, but I might as well put the period there. It covers so much more that way, and summarizes a lot of the decisions I make, or at least the reason I make them.

Well, I did it again.

I saw an article in my local newspaper about a local, self published author who decided we needed a book fair in this area. There’s never been a book fair here before. I’m a local self published author. I could use some exposure, so it seemed like a natural thing for me to send an email to the man in the article and tell him I wanted to be involved.

I figure I’d never hear from the guy, but in a fit of conscientiousness, I told him about myself. A few days later I got a phone call from the man. My wife almost hung up on him, figuring he was a telemarketer. We get an endless string of those. The guy turned out to be a very nice man so when he asked me to come to a meeting at the local writer’s center to discuss the book fair, I went. Not only did I go, but I agreed to help and ended up on the marketing committee.

So far you might be asking yourself, “So what?”

That’s where complication number one comes in. I have absolutely no idea what a book fair is. I thought it was just one big book signing or something like that. It isn’t. It’s a lot more than that and it includes local libraries, media people, book store managers, and other things I’m still learning about.

Complication number two is that so far the people on the committee all have slightly different ideas of what should and should not be involved, even though none of us has ever been involved in a book fair before. At least not to any significant degree. There’s an old adage about this that deals with who’s leading whom, but it may be politically incorrect so I’ll refrain from using it here.

So far we will be operating a book fair during an annual Mother’s Day  arts and crafts festival run by the power élite in the area. At least that’s how they think of themselves. Our piece of that covers the entire floor of a small restaurant on the fringe of the festival even though technically we are not official members of the festival itself. Don’t ask. Chalk it up to snobbery and move on. At least we’re there.

After that we will move to the local minor league baseball park and hold a traditional book signing there. There are plans that one or several of us might even get the chance to throw out the first pitch. Remember, it’s minor league baseball, but we’ll take it. I’ve never heard of mixing hot dogs, peanuts and a book signing before, but maybe we’ll be trend setters. Who knows?

The point of all this is I just wanted to find a place to schlep a few books, and now I may have to learn how to grip a four seam fast ball again and hope I don’t bounce it too many times on its way to the plate. That would be embarrassing. The rest of it just involves a lot of meetings and hard work. I never planned on that.

Keep watching here for further developments, and if you’re interested in helping or just having small place to sell some of your books, drop me an email. I’ll see what I can do and there might even be a pretzel in it for you.

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