While in Florida last week I participated in the first annual University of Central Florida Book Festival and it was GREAT. The university people putting it on were so organized and had the benefit of wonderful, enthusiastic student volunteers, too. There were 60 authors "presenting" and, I think, only five of us mystery writers. But our panel was very well attended and I was impressed by the audience's enthusiasm. Out of the however many thousand were there attending, I believe I'd actually met two! It was terrific to meet so many new-to-me authors of everything from "literary" to nonfiction books and talk to so many interested in books people.
I highly encourage any authors here to follow the thread at www.bookfestival.ucf.edu and learn about next year's event. Not only do they pay everything for participating authors (and I mean everything, including breakfasts at the hotel, and a delightful authors reception where I got to meet and thank Carl Hiaasen!), but this is the ONLY signing I've ever done where charming student volunteers stand in front of the table holding your book and gently encouraging people to come over and meet the author. And, surprise, all book details were handled by the Barnes and Noble (yes, THOSE, often much maligned folk) campus bookstore and every book they ordered by 60 different authors was there on hand. Amazing.
It just shows how delightful an event can be when done right!
back in coooool Northern CA and doing a mountain of laundry...