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After action report — Foxburg Fall Festival

Posted in Events

foxburg-event-img_20161009_153919423-croppedIt was a splendid autumn day, and Foxburg is a lovely little river town along the Allegheny River not far from Pittsburgh. The single riverfront street was lined with vendors in tents selling food and trinkets of all kinds, and alpacas for the petting roamed the library lawn.

The library was a nice, old building, with one large front room, some stacks in a back room, and a tiny alcove for children's books. The library ran a used book sale, and there were eight of us indie authors inside, selling our wares.

Or, at least, that was the theory.

All the signage mentioned “used book sales”. None of it mentioned visiting authors and new book sales. If you weren't in the main room, like me, you were essentially invisible. That would have disturbed me more, except that it became clear after we compared notes that few of us had sold even a single copy of a book.

Our hosts were just as nice and helpful as they could be, but the absence of proper signage meant that few people dropped by, and none were prepared to find anything except used books and had a hard time understanding that there were actual authors there prepared to sell them something else.

Sigh… So after a few jokes about starting up a couple of bridge games, we spent the time sharing stories and tips about writing and publishing. I got some recommendations for other book shows (somewhat sardonically) from one of my neighbors. And we shared lists of books-to-read in various genres.

At least I got to try out all my new gear for setup and display (on a card table). The only hitch was the tablecloth — I bought a rectangle suitable for a 4'x8′ table and expected to have some difficulty folding it neatly for a square 3′ x 3′ table, but little did I know… The cloth, marked “rectangular” in the packaging was actually round. That, my friends, is why you bring large ACCO clamps and tape to show events.

At least I had the opportunity to network a bit with other authors. Here I am with Cindy Marsch, one of my colleagues from the Alliance for Independent Authors.

foxburg-event-w-cindy-rinaman-marsch-img_20161009_172027351_burst000_cover-cropped

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One Comment

  1. Good writeup, Karen. I was fortunate to sell a bit, but I wonder if a single sign outside might have helped. I noted that one visitor felt “honored” that authors were attending the festival. Some would wander into our little alcove and feel awkward that they had to look behind us to see the usual materials shelved there. Others wandered into the children’s room where we went to give the author talks that didn’t really have attendees – but for the one fellow author-type who came to mine.

    So it was a good experience in networking and polishing up our “table pitches” for folks who came to our tables. And most of the visitors were quite pleasant and politely interested in taking materials so they could check out our work online later . . . maybe.

    Discoverability . . . the bane of the indie author! 🙂

    October 10, 2016
    |Reply

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