Aloooooooha! As the skies clear up, I am reminded that all the fun and exciting book fairs are starting up again. This year, I vow to attend at least three in state and one out-of-state, and at least one conference or seminar. This isn’t to say I won’t attend more, but alas, I am still part of the employed by day, write by night lifestyle.
So with so many wonderful fairs coming up, will you be going? First on the list for sunny Southern California, where I hale from, is the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books. I am looking forward to being a participant in this event this year and not just a bystander. Though, it was pretty amazing to be a bystander last year. All those books (insert drool).
I met so many great new authors, received so much valuable information, and walked away with too many books. Is there such a thing as too many books? There were well over 500 booths spread across the beautiful USC campus. There were speakers, live entertainment, and specialty sections for comics, poetry, children’s books, and more. It went on for as far as the eye could see.
This year I am teaming up with my publicist at Blackbird LSD to share a tent on April 20-21st, 2013 at the USC campus. He will be representing several authors who are unable to attend the event themselves for various reasons: work and distance seem to be the biggest factors. There are several companies out there offering to do this anywhere from $1500 to $3,500, from what I have seen so far, and many only place a copy of the book on the shelf. And only a handful of books are cover out, while hundred of them are spine out.
I almost paid for this service last year through a major publicity house at $1850 to feature my book or $2500 if I wanted to set up a one hour book signing time. I’m so glad I didn’t do it. I passed their tent and it was set up like a book store with several swivel book shelves in the middle and a bunch of shelves against the perimeter. It truly resembled a bookstore and when I inquired about some books, the woman there simply read the back of the book. It was so cold, and there weren’t very many people in that tent. My guess is, people were intimidated by the countless books and didn’t know where to begin. On the other hand, the tents with fewer books had droves of people walking through, and those tents with people knowledgeable about the books definitely had a small gathering at all times.
So what my friends (and book lovers) at Blackbird LSD are doing this year, is purchasing a large tent and featuring books for authors who can not be there. How is this different from the big companies with racks and shelves of books? Simple: quantity and quality.
They will only take a limited amount of books and try to hit different genres so there aren’t twenty war books competing with each other. They will also create posters to be placed above each person’s book and each book will be cover out in it’s own section of the tent. There will also be a flyer circulating with the titles of each book being repped, an author website or fan page listed, and a synopsis of the book next to it. All books will also be listed with links on the Blackbird LSD website and social media accounts which include Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram. They would also ask that each author also link some of the other authors at least once on their social media accounts to cross promote.
If you are in the Los Angeles area and would like to show up to do a book signing of your book that is represented, you are more than welcome. I will share more information as it is given to me. I know the L.A. Festival of Books is a great event and one not to be missed. For more information on having your book represented please contact Daniel at editor@blackbirdlsd. See you there.
Tania L Ramos
For more information on the L.A. Times festival of Books, click here
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