Monday, July 18, 2016

Harlem Book Fair 2016


Attending book events can be awesome and nerve-racking. It's nice talking to people about my book and making connections. It's terrifying talking to strangers about my books. I am an introvert after all. Whenever someone walked to our booth, I resisted the urge to hide under the table. The Harlem Book Fair was an adventure. I met some awesome people.



Preparing for this event was its own adventure. The swag was easy to order. I need to figure out an inexpensive and professional way to display my images. First I went with binders. I designed covers for them. Binder + cover did not look professional. I needed a portfolio. Not exactly inexpensive or easy to find. Fortunately, I have a large photo album I use for storing my collectibles. The cover wasn't professional but no one would see it since the book would be flat on the table.




On Saturday, the day of the fair, we were baking under 91 degrees with almost no wind.

The things I do for my books.

Fortunately, my publisher rented a large tent. Some people didn't have anything but a hat protecting them from the sun. Those were the real troopers.

It was hot even under the tent. On top of that, we were close to the event stage and the music. I was yelling over the noise which gave me a nice headache. A quick walk down the street for some cold water solved that problem. Eventually, the music stopped.

The fair had a good wave of people. Unfortunately, most of them weren't interested in my books. There didn't seem to be a lot of fantasy/science fiction fans there. Someone assumed my series was romance and complained to us about the lack of historical books at the fair. We corrected them. They still weren't interested. The fair seemed to be heavy on the nonfiction. It wasn't like that last year. But I sold some books, talked to people, passed out a lot of cards and postcards, made some connections.


I use these events to take nice pictures of my books and share them on social media. I saw some amazing engagement on Instagram.


At a certain point, one of my images made the Top Posts for #HarlemBookFair on Instagram!


Towards the end of the day, clouds covered the sun. The weather report didn't talk about rain so we enjoyed the cool breeze.

It started raining. The wind tried to throw our cards down the street. Since we were under a tent, we didn't plan on leaving. We put the cards away so we wouldn't lose them. Then, the wind grabbed the tent and slid it into our neighbor's space.

It was time to go.

One problem.With only two of us, we couldn't move the tent. Fortunately, a nice couple helped us put it back over our table and lower it. We didn't know how to take down the tent. The event staff disappeared like they ran in from the rain and forgot about us. We rented the tent. We couldn't leave it and risk it flying down the street. I held onto it while my publisher finished packing.

We put everything away and still no event staff. By then it started pouring. The wind was determined to steal the tent and get us in trouble.

Finally, finally, someone who worked there showed up. We called them over. The rain and wind ceased their attack and we walked to the train station, suitcases in tow.

That was my Saturday. How was yours?
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