This week is definitely smoother sailing than when I last posted about the FFOB on July 1 (#343–The ups and downs of the FFOB). We had just lost our Events Center liaison only days before we were to begin accepting applications on July 5 for this year’s 11th Florence Festival of Books. And we got a late start getting the word out due to circumstances beyond our control. It was a rocky beginning, Did I mention that FFOB is my favorite four-letter ‘F’ word. During moments of frustration, F-Fob said quickly, works just fine.
Now, everything seems to be on track.
On July 5, at 10:01 a.m., I went to the FFOB website and clicked my way to the individual application, filled it in (including my bio), submitted it, and then clicked to handle payment. That put me on the Event Center’s payment system. I filled in all the info required and submitted it. Everything worked, and I was done in about 12 minutes. I was so relieved that everything worked! By being first, I was the test case. As it turned out, I was fourth and by the end of the day, we had nine signed up.
Instead of our usual 68 tables, we are cutting back, like we did last year. We are having 50 tables and as of this writing, we have only half of those left. So, the application process is moving right along.
I wanted a space for bios on the application, since I will be editing them before they are placed on the website. Last year, we had no space for bio on the application, and I had to contact each one. Never again! So, as they are coming in, I am editing them. We asked to keep to 40 words and all but one did. That one had 188. Hmm! Always one! I cut it down to 43. They don’t call me “slasher” for nothing!
In the past we always categorized the bios by where the authors and publishers participating lived. This year, we are doing it by genre. Much more difficult. Coming up with all the genres, and then what do you do with those who have more than one (like me). Our web person pointed out that folks may not want to keep reading the same bio over and over. So, I came up with a solution today. I will post the bio of each author under their main genre and just their name under other genres they mention. At least, that is the plan of the moment. Obviously, the bios are still a work in progress.
So, the applications are coming in and the bios for the website are being worked out.
Our Keynote Speaker is all set. We still need to arrange comped lodging, but we have the same committee member handling that who has done it before.
And two days ago, we had nothing definite for our eBook panel discussion. I got busy, and today, three of the four slots are filled. I have two publishers that I know and think highly of, who have experience with eBooks that will be on the panel. They were thrilled to be asked. And we have one author whose books are in print and in eBook format and says that his eBooks sell well. I know one other author who has been a successful eBook author for years, whom I’ve asked, and she is thinking about it. So, glad to get these slots filled. Three down and one to go!
We have a goal of $7,000 from our sponsors, and so far, we have $4,900 in the bank with another $500 committed. The deadline is August 1, and I think we’ll make it.
Our official flyer and poster have been designed and only need the names of the sponsors before we run them off and start distributing about second week of August..
Our media consultant, whom we hired this year (something we’ve never done before), has quite a good article to send out to many types of media within a three-hour radius of Florence. This article is aimed at attendees. He’s also handled the advertising packages with the newspaper and radio station. And doing our Facebook page and some parts of the website.
We have the person, who will be key in assigning tables, in charge of keeping track of the applications. When we assign tables, we have to keep in mind those who paid for six foot and those who paid for 8 foot and those who are sharing an 8-foot table and those who need electricity and those who request to sit by specific participants. I have always been a part of the assigning process, and it is like putting a jigsaw puzzle together.
And we have lined up which committee members will be acquiring and organizing and training volunteers for the day of the event. Volunteers relieve participants at their tables when they need to take a break or eat lunch. We always need several. They have either a morning or afternoon shift and are easily spotted with their blue T-shirts or aprons with the Festival logo.
At today’s meeting, we also lined up a committee member to see if we can have some strong, young helpers from the Mormon Church to help participants bring in their books and stuff between 8 and 10 a.m. the day of the event and then help them load back up between 4 and 4:30 p.m. after the book fair. They have done this for us for several years.
Our former committee member who used to work with the motels to see if they would give discounts to participants, will be working with one of our newer members to steer her toward certain lodgings and train her in what to say and that it is better to set up an appointment rather than over the phone.
There’s a lot of organizing that goes on for months before an event. Years ago, co-founder Connie Bradley came up with a timeline of what to do and when. That is what I use to prepare the agenda before each meeting. And each year, we update it, as we make changes.
With the timeline as a guide and enough committee members to spread the jobs around, we have always had a successful event. We’re still short of committee members that have enough time to commit. But, by using part-time committee members and former committee members as needed, we are making it work.It’ll be great, so, plan to come.
*If you are an author or publisher and wish to participate, get your application in before they fill up. www.FlorenceFestivalofBooks.org .
*If you wish to volunteer, contact the Florence Events Center at 541-997-1994.
*And if you like to read either printed or eBooks, mark your calendar for Saturday, September 24.
–The eBook panel discussion is from 9 to 10 a.m.
–The book fair is 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
–Keynote Speaker William (Bill) Sullivan begins his presentation at 4:15 p.m.––“D.B. Cooper and The Exploding Whale: Folk Heros of the Northwest.”
Come see what’s new in 2022!
Hope to see you there!