This past weekend I participated in two outreach events to promote writing (and my own book, of course).
The first event was the SML Business Expo on Friday, where the Chamber of Commerce brings local businesses together to network and attract new business. So, why was an author there? Because I never wear only one hat. My hat of the day was as the director of communications for the local arts council. We had a table and talked about what the arts council brings to the community. Since we cover performing, visual and literary arts, we had a sampling of books from Lake Writers, the literary arm of the arts council. This was merely a sample of what we have published over the last few years.
Susan Coyell, Sally Roseveare, Becky Mushko, Don Fink, Franz Beisser, Ginny Brock and me. It's always a pleasure to talk with people who have read these books or those who want to know where to buy them. I told everyone who asked about buying locally to go to the General Store, because I'd seen all the books on its local author shelf. If we had been allowed to sell at the expo, I probably could have sold 50 books, many of my own but lots by the other writers, too.
On Saturday, I drove up to Staunton, VA, in the gorgeous Shenandoah Valley to the SWAG Bookfair at 16 W. Beverly in the historic district. With a population of just over 24,000 people. this community supports four, count them four, bookstores. Alas, Smith Mountain Lake doesn't have that many people, but it can't really support a single bookstore.
I wore two hats on Saturday: one as the published author of Mad Max Unintended Consequences and the other as the president of Virginia Writers Club. I sold books, signed them, handed out information on the writers club and may have attracted a new member for the Roanoke chapter, Valley Writers. We'll see.
Anyway, 10 writers got together to network, sell books to the public (and each other, of course) and hang out. Always nice to reconnect with other writers and meet new friends. I go to the book fairs with one goal in mind: come away with at least one new speaking engagement. I succeeded. I also came away with ideas for promoting more than one writer in a group event. More on that later.
When you see a local writer at a festival, please visit. Tell her what you like to read. She may have written just what you are looking for. Or she may know a local writer who has.