I trundled my books and promotional materials into the Greentree Mall before 11 am. Some had already set up, some were yet to arrive. I liked the sign.

As soon as got set up, I walked around and looked at everybody else’s set-up and went back and redid mine. It was too late to do some of what I liked about others’ tables, but could rearrange what I had. One thing I did that nobody else did and that I liked was an excerpt booklet. On the front was a picture of the book and, since it was an anthology, the title of my story in the book. Inside was an excerpt clearly marked ~Excerpt~ although ~Sample~ might have been a better choice. On the back, I had a brief review, order information and my web site URL. Next time, I’ll also have a synopsis and the information that the book is available for Kindle (or whatever e-reader format it’s available in).

Authors were of all ages, from a “child author” who was 10 at the most to people rich in years. There were writers with their first books and writers with multiple titles to their credit. We had non-fiction and fiction, Christian romance and fantasy, memoirs and science fiction. There were authors who just enjoyed writing and didn’t care about making it big, and there was Rinda Hahn, who granted me permission to tell people she’s my Very Close Personal Friend when she hits the big time (which I firmly believe she will). Across from me, Amanda Bradburn and Debra A. Kemp, fantasy authors, had come in gorgeous costumes. I don’t know if I was more jealous of the costumes or of Debra’s e-book reader–talk about a creative anachronism!

Some authors sold well and some–okay, some OF US–not so well. Quite a few people browsed my table and took the excerpt booklet, so I might possibly have generated some sales later, but not that day.

The table that drew the most interest belonged to Nick Valentino, author of Thomas Riley. His was the only book I bought that day, and he bought one of mine because he’s a nice guy. Nick had a dynamite display, boundless enthusiasm, infectious good humor and an intriguing book. It’s a Steampunk novel, action/adventure set during the Industrial Revolution, but with inventions that actually came along later. Valentino has opened his world to his readers, offering enlistment into the Sky Pirates. The interactivity makes the reader part of the action, and makes his book each reader’s book. I love it!

In addition to Nick, I met several other people I previously only knew online. A couple of browsers were people I knew and had lost touch with, so that was a happy surprise, too.

This wonderful Gothgirl came by to visit. She doesn’t do MySpace because it’s too weird. I’m on MySpace….

I learned some things for future reference:

  1. bring my own table cover, appropriate to my book
  2. don’t bring candy to give away–everybody does–but bring something relevant
  3. find a way to clearly and instantly open my world to browsers
  4. stand as much as possible
  5. don’t forget the excerpt brochure or booklet

I met some wonderful people, got some valuable tips and made some exciting connections. Well worth the effort!

MA

writing prompt: A character has to sit next to an obnoxious person at a public event. (This did not happen to me–everyone was great!)

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