I had not heard of this book fair until Emily Kolkemo at Oregon Coast magazine sent me a press release about it. So I forwarded it on to Connie Bradley who thought it would be good for two reasons: sell our books and promote the Florence Festival of Books. And we both thought it a good opportunity to pick up tips to improve our own book fair.
Since Connie and I are once again co-chairs of the Florence Festival of Books, we couldn’t help thinking about FFOB whenever another book fair was mentioned.
The Douglas County Book & Authors Fair was held in a meeting room at the main branch of the Douglas County Library in Roseburg. There were approximately 30 authors attending with their books. Only four of them were familiar faces that had attended FFOB in the past three years.
I got up about 4:30 a.m. so that I could leave the house shortly after 6:30. I picked up Connie, who lives just up the highway at Sutton Lake. We were on the road by 7 a.m. With all of the cold weather of the week before, we were just glad to see no freezing temps. It was simply cool and cloudy. There was a lot of snow along the road following the Umpqua and through the mountains, but the pavement was bare and not icy.
Although I’d been to the main library in Roseburg before, Connie had turn-by-turn directions, and we got there a few minutes after 9 a.m. We were among the early arrivals and got the first table folks see as they enter. That was just fine with us.
There were lots of attendees at times and some slow periods. I sold eight Guides and one Crossings at 100 percent cost––no discount. I mention this because most of my sales are to booksellers (bookstores, museums, and tourist hot spots), to whom I give a 40 percent discount. So it’s nice to get the full price.
We, along with most of the other authors, spent half our time networking. I compared my Arcadia Press experiences with a gal who has done two Arcadia Press books, and I caught up with each of the folks I had met before at our book fair. Then I exchanged cards with several authors I was meeting for the first time. It was very heartening to both Connie and I that our Florence Festival of Books, has the reputation of being one of the best book fairs in the state. Between the two of us, we talked to nearly everyone attending. So we have many new names and email addresses to add to our FFOB mailing list.
Normally, when I go to book fairs, I end up buying several books. I really restrained myself this time and didn’t buy a single book. There were several children’s books, books of poetry, stories of overcoming, and fiction––romance, historical, and fantasy. It was a good cross section.
Because this meeting room had an attached kitchen, we could access snacks and coffee or tea throughout the day and lunch was available at noon. Lunch was greatly appreciated.
Every half-hour two or three raffle winners’ names were drawn. Several of the prizes were $10 coupons for book fair books. Two of my sales were coupon sales. Afterwards, I turned in the coupons for actual money. Not a bad idea. Hmm!
We stopped by to see a friend of Connie’s before leaving, so I had the opportunity to get lost in Roseburg, which I did. But we eventually found where her friend lived and, afterwards, made it back to the freeway. In spite of fog that was dense at times, we made it home safely by 8 p.m.
It was a long, but successful day. Besides selling some books and promoting our book fair, we shared what we knew about running a book fair with Joe Federico, the man in charge, and picked up a couple of his ideas. And last but not least, we got to chat with other authors.
Since I will not be posting, the week of Christmas, I’ll take this opportunity to wish all of you a merry Christmas and the very best during 2014.