Book Festivals – Arts & Crafts Festivals . . . to do or not to do? In my opinion, I think every author–traditionally published or self-published–should consider festivals as another option for not only marketing their books, but as a way to meet their readers.
Oh, I know what your thinking. “I’m an author! I should be having book signings in book stores. After all, isn’t that what all the well-known authors do?” And yes, there was a time that I too thought that was the only way to meet readers and be taken seriously as an author/writer. Please don’t misunderstand me! I love every opportunity to visit the nationally known book stores and local independent book stores. They’re the absolute best! What I’m suggesting, is that you just might be missing out on another opportunity to meet your readers, make new fans, and sell some books!
I find that both book festivals and arts & crafts festivals are a great way to connect with readers, as well as other authors, illustrators, and artisans. Readers of all ages love stopping by an author’s booth to pick up a bookmark, coloring page or sticker. I know, for me, having the opportunity to meet one-on-one with each and every reader who takes time to stop by my booth and chat with me is one of the most amazing feelings a writer can experience! I always get a warm and fuzzy feeling whenever a young fan tells me how much they enjoy my books. Then seeing the excitement in a child’s eyes as they tell me all about a story they either wrote or are working on and how they plan on someday being an author. Amazing!!! Oh yes, and sometimes someone who hasn’t even bought a book will go on to recommend me for their school’s upcoming author event. You just never know what each festival has in store for you!
When considering festivals: Some festivals are free, but many charge a fee for their event. You may pay up to several hundred dollars, it depends on the size of the festival, number of days, and potential shoppers. Many festivals are juried, which means that along with your application, you will need to supply them with a cover image of your book for consideration. Some festivals will supply you with a table and chairs, while many outdoor festivals require you to bring a tent/canopy, usually 10 x 10. Others may even offer a tent for you to rent. If the event will allow, you might also be able to share your space with another author/illustrator, therefore splitting the cost of your booth. Then there’s distance. Some festivals might not be worth traveling to as they are too far away, making time, gas, and lodging an issue. That is unless you can plan a vacation around one as I sometimes do.
Festivals give me a unique opportunity for reaching out and meeting my young readers. Festivals just may be an opportunity that awaits you. You can find out more information on book festivals at http://www.bookfestivals.com/ and arts & crafts festivals at http://www.zapplication.org.