The weather was great, and we had good crowds both days. Mostly, we were relieved that we had about 50 at the Publisher’s Panel Friday afternoon and slightly more than 100 to see and hear Jane Kirkpatrick deliver her Keynote Address that evening. On Saturday, there were about 350 attendees plus the 30 or so committee members and volunteers and 90 participants many with a spouse or friend––of which most fell into the category of book buyers.
Our new event—the Publisher’s Panel
The Publisher’s Panel was held on the stage for both panelists and the audience. The panel consisted of Ellen Traylor, who has written 19 books and whose company has published the books of 30 authors; Dr. Veronica Esagui, who is a chiropractic physician, author of several books and a play, and founder and CEO of the NW Authors and Publishers Association, Papyrus Press, and NW Annual Book Festival held in Pioneer Square in Portland each year; Patricia Marshall of Luminare Press, the owner of a small company that walks authors through each step of self-publishing to produce a fine book; and Karen Nichols, who has published four books on her own through CreateSpace, the self-publishing/print-on-demand arm of Amazon.
Jennifer Conners, committee member and events coordinator for the Florence Events Center, moderated the panel. First, she had the audience members introduce themselves and tell about what they wanted to learn from the panel, during which Jennifer made notes on a whiteboard. Then each panel member had five minutes to tell about themselves before Jennifer started asking questions that she had on a PowerPoint screen. The ensuing discussion was lively from the get-go with lots of audience interaction and at one point an actual debate began between Traylor and audience member Erec Lindberg, a book fair participant. Many audience members were taking notes throughout. All in all, this new event was very helpful to many who attended.
Meet & Greet
From 6 to 6:45 p.m., a Meet & Greet took place in the lobby for book fair participants and those who attended the Publisher’s Panel. Committee members arrived early to greet everybody. Kirkpatrick had her books there with her husband selling at one table and she signing at another. She was delightful and spent time with everyone whose book she signed as well as anyone who came up to her table.
There were drinks available and lots of finger food. Many FFOB participants were there. It was great fun to meet new authors and see ones I knew but hadn’t seen for awhile. We also had a banner with our logo all over it that folks could stand in front of to take selfies or for Jennifer to take their photo.
By 6:45, we dug out our tickets and lined up to head into the theater. Promptly at 7 p.m., Traylor introduced Kirkpatrick. Our Keynote Speaker stood alone onstage holding a microphone alongside a small table with a couple of props.
She held us spellbound for an hour as she told how it’s the pioneer characteristics––such as commitment and overcoming challenges––that attract her to the strong western women she writes about. She is fascinated with their stories––so much so that she has written 29 books. Much research goes into each book before the writing begins. She told of several improbable situations that led to treasure troves of material that she hadn’t previously known existed. After her talk, she took questions.
Behind the Scenes
Earlier in the day on Friday, the crew at the events center set up the rods and curtains that separate the areas as well as set up the tables and covered them with vinyl tops and fabric skirts. The committee started arriving about 10:30 a.m. and passed out the bags, that we had stuffed the previous Wednesday, the names and numbers for each table, the name tags for participants, and some clothespins to hang stuff on the curtains behind each table. During the day, some authors arrived and were able to set up. I had invited Sally Rash, a new author from Florence that had a book published by my publisher, Bob Serra, to come a day early and set up. We were sharing the same table, and together we got our table mostly ready to go.
After everything was passed out, organized neatly on each table, and chairs reapportioned, I took a break to eat the lunch I had brought. Then I finished setting up my table before heading to the Publisher’s Panel. I did go home between the panel and the Meet & Greet––a quick trip between 4:30 and 6 p.m. Since it took a half hour to go back and forth, that left an hour at home. I closed up the greenhouse, fed Sir Groucho, fixed a quick dinner, ate, and changed clothes. Whew!
On Saturday, the committee members arrived between 8 and 8:30 a.m. to greet participants. We also had two Mormon elders and boys from the Mormon Boy Scout troop to help participants unload their cars. It was comical to watch the younger boys race to meet each car that drove up. Between the boys, committee members, supplies of hooks, pins, and clothespins, and free coffee along with what they brought, the participants transformed their tables and were ready to go before 10 a.m.
Meanwhile, others were busy preparing too: the credit-card table was manned by volunteer Don Chapin and committee member Bonnie MacDuffee who looked ready, the stage had been set up for the Featured Readers with volunteer Steve Skidmore and committee member Doris Russell ready as hosts, Meg Spencer was at the public address system all set to announce each Featured Reader, Mon Ami was setting up with coffie, tea, and soft drinks and food for snacks and lunch to be eaten at tables in the lobby throughout the day, volunteers were arriving and putting on their blue T-shirts with the FFOB logo, the front desk was ready with stuffed bags for attendees and a brief form to fill out for all attendees and put in the jar for a chance on a basket full of books and other goodies, and Bob Snedden was nervously pacing ready to start interviewing participants as part of the two-hour live KCST broadcast from the Festival.
The Authors and Publishers Book Fair
Promptly at 10 a.m., folks started streaming through the door to see books by 81 authors and 9 publishers. It stayed busy until a lull about 2:30 p.m.
I got to visit with some of my favorite people that also happen to be authors.
I see them only at these types of events: Veronica Esagui, Doranne Long, Edwin Fender, Joe Blakely, and Bob Welch to name a few. Bob Welch is another of the big names among Oregon writers that we were so pleased was able to attend this year. During the lull, I bought a book from him, and he said that we had about the same kind of traffic as the holiday show in Eugene. I found that hard to believe but thrilled to hear it.
I had a chance to go around more than once to buy books and chat with authors.
I ended up with 10 new books––two I traded for and eight I bought. Of those eight, a few will be gifts. I also sold 20 of my books. All in all, I had a really good time.
It always amazes me that by 4:20 p.m., nearly every one has cleared out. Of course, the Mormon helpers were back to help make that happen. After I got home, about 5, I unloaded everything and then hit the sack. I took a long nap. It had been a busy and exciting couple of days. And I loved every minute!
Notes: Mark your calendars for next year––September 23–24, 2016.
And did you notice that I’m not wearing my wig anymore? It’s been two weeks without it!