I participated in my first authors fair at Bob’s Beach Books in Lincoln City last Saturday. It is held each year in August and has been going on for years. This time last year, I still had three chapters to write––not quite an author.
I went with Connie Bradley, author of Snowball: the Nanny Goose of Sutton Lake. We had gone together to Grants Pass in July where just the two of us were the featured authors and got to sit in front of Oregon Books and Games and sell and sign our books for two days. This was totally different because there were 60 or 70 authors outdoors under canopies where we shared tables for one afternoon. It was close quarters and although sunny, it was cool and extremely windy. The coastal summer winds can be fierce—and these were. I came prepared with paperweights, a hat, sunscreen, and many layers including a warm jacket.
We made a couple stops before getting there to drop off some of my books, Crossings: McCullough’s Coastal Bridges, so instead of arriving at 11 a.m. with plenty of time to set up, choose where we wanted to sit, and grab a bite of the lunches we brought, we got there about 11:35 with just enough time to set up.
As it turned out, we were the last to arrive. Connie snagged a spot in the shade, and I got one several tables away in the sun. I put on my hat and took off my jacket. No time to eat, but we did luck out in parking. I couldn’t find any empty spots in the nearby public lot or on any side street closer than four blocks away. So after our cruise of the area, we came back to the event site and parked in an empty spot just a few steps from the tables. Apparently, it was kept open for cars to unload. After all, books are heavy. Since we were the last ones, we didn’t have to move for anyone else. So we left the car there. That was choice!
People browsed, asked questions, and bought books. The big sellers from where I sat were fiction—romantic fiction. Many folks came to see their favorite author and buy a book or two. Most authors had more than one book. Some had several and had developed a following of devoted readers. Most people looked at my book and were impressed but didn’t buy. The only sales I made were to other authors that I knew. And the only book I bought was from an author I knew. In a way, it was like a neighborhood garage sale where everyone buys each other’s stuff.
What I enjoyed most was the networking aspect. I got to meet three authors whose books I had reviewed when I worked as an editor/writer for Oregon Coast and Northwest Travel magazines. I had previously only known them over the phone and through emails. It’s great to put a face to a name. I also got to talk with Matt Love, a teacher whom I had written about as part of a story on Neskowin Valley School years ago. He now teaches at the high school in Newport and is putting on the panel discussion, which I will be part of that will celebrate the Yaquina Bay Bridge’s 75th anniversary. We had a chance to talk about the logistics of it. He’s expecting a couple hundred people to turn out. Wow!
The most exciting part, for me, was meeting Dr. Veronica Esagui from the Portland area who hosts a TV show “The Author’s Forum.” She asked me about my book and wanted to know if I would like to be on her show sometime next year. Double wow! I said, “Yes!” of course.
The book fair lasted from noon til 3 p.m. Afterward, all participating authors were invited to a reception in a home overlooking the ocean. It was just so great to be inside out of the wind, and the lovely setting, yummy hors d’oeuvres, and cool drinks weren’t too hard to take either. It made a perfect ending for my first authors fair.
In a month, on October 1, Florence will be hosting its own book fair for authors and publishers. It will be at the Events Center. So it will be inside, out of the wind, and we will have a larger space for up to 60 participants. It will be a first for Florence, and Connie and I are the co-chairs. We’ve been meeting with a committee of seven every week for the past nine weeks, and we think we’ve got it all worked out. But we kept our eyes open at Bob’s Beach Books and took notes. . . . And while we were there, we gave everyone a flyer about the upcoming Florence Festival of Books.
Crossings: McCullough’s Coastal Bridges can be yours for $24.95 plus $3.99 shipping. Order from Pacific Publishing at www.connectflorence.com or email@example.com. It is also available on the coast in bookstores, museums, and gift shops; in Eugene at the airport, the historical museum, and several bookstores; and in Portland at Powell’s and the Oregon Historical Society.
Judy a part of bridge celebrations:
September 8, 3 p.m.—Bridge opening and closing and parade of 1930s era cars and Dedication followed by Judy’s PowerPoint presentation at the Umpqua Discovery Center, Reedsport.
October 1, 2-4 p.m.—Yaquina Bay Bridge ‘s 75th anniversary celebration panel discussion at the City Hall, Newport.
Judy participating in authors fair:
October 1, 10-4 p.m.—Florence Festival of Books–an authors and publishers fair at the Florence Events Center (715 Quince Street, 1 block east of Highway 101), Florence (Judy leaves for Newport shortly after noon)