Monday, August 17, 2009

Fairly Fabulous State Fair!

Here's a great pic of Yolanda and JD Webb manning our table in the Hometown Pride Tent at the Illinois State Fair on Saturday. I had to act quickly to catch the table in one of its few down-traffic moments of the day.

This experience definitely goes under the "You Just Never Know" category. Yolanda pressed me to sign up, and I was very grumpy about it...too hot, I said...people at the fair won't be interested in books, I said, a lot of trouble for little to no return, I said. Well, needless to say, I got to munch on those words all the way home because we were busy all day, chatting up the Prose in the Park Conference with people, talking about OTP Books, JD's books, showing off Monti's gorgeous Hotels to Remember art book. We were the busiest table under the Hometown Pride Big Top!

Among the people who stopped by were library board members from other towns in Central Illinois...they were eager to have info on our books and show support for an home-grown indie publisher. Also a couple of mayors talked with us, and one explained how he pushes his town library to patronize indie press books and local books. Dozens of people took information on the conference.

I had book marks, post cards, business cards and sell sheets from Marilyn Meredith's books, Sunny Frazier's, Monti, some of our Dark Oak titles, Patricia Sheehy and more. This fellow stopped by, interested to see that he was the topic of Alan Bower's "The Last Stop"...

All in all, it was a great day. The spot in the tent cost less than a nice lunch, and we did more business in an hour than I did in a three-day stint at Book Expo some years back, which cost thousands. So the lesson is you gotta give everything a chance, and just because you're the big cheese, it's no indication that other people won't have a dang good idea!


Monti said...

Exciting! You just never know what will work until you try. Nice to be the most popular spot!


Mike Orenduff said...

There's a lesson here for all of us. My students are always telling me about the county fair - pigs, pies, pecans, peaches, all that Georgia stuff. I never thought of it as a venue to sell books, but there are a lot of people there, some who know me, and a book by a local author might interest them. Thanks for a great post.

F. M. Meredith, author said...

Yes, county fairs can be a good venue for books--unless you're hidden back by the restrooms with a screen in front of you like we were at the Santa Maria county fair. Would I go back? You betcha, we've been promised a better spot and I did manage to sell books by going out in the main room and handing out my cards--and some people actually came back to see me.