Wednesday, July 9, 2008

FESTIVAL FUN By Morgan Mandel

Photo Right Above: Romantic Suspense Author, Margot Justes, Young Adult Author, June Sproat. In the back - Morgan Mandel, Mystery and Romantic Comedy Author.

This year for the local Festival, myself, along with two fellow Acme Authors Link bloggers, Margot Justes and June Sproat, decided to try something different. I knew from past years of attending the five-day Frontier Days Festival in Arlington Heights that it’s a popular happening. Marketplace, where the arts and crafters reside on Saturday and Sunday, is one of the many events which pulls in a huge crowd.

With high hopes we set up our designated spot. We assembled the canopy lent to us by Debra St. John, another Acme Authors Link blogger, set up the card tables and chairs, arranged our books and promotional material and hoped for the best.

Would people come to our booth? If so, would an arts and crafts crowd have any interest in reading? I have to say we were pleasantly surprised. Our group, which we called Area Authors, held up well to the surrounding competition.

Right from the start on Saturday, the busiest of the two days, peopled stopped by, checked out the books, turned them over, looked at the blurbs and the first pages as readers are apt to do.

I was totally unprepared and terrifically happy when one lady mentioned she’d read my first book, Two Wrongs, at the library and came back to find more. Fortunately, Girl of My Dreams had been published by then and she could read it as well. That wasn’t enough. When she saw me, she decided to buy autographed copies of both books for her friend.

For those who said they used the library or had run out of money at the other booths, we made sure to offer bookmarks so they wouldn't forget us and would know where to order.

Invariably, we asked the question, “Do you like to read?” Many times we got the response, “Yes, but I don’t have enough time.”

Sadly, too many people have given up reading in favor of TV, movies and other pastimes which don’t require much effort or thought.

On Sunday, a gentleman representing the opposite side of the spectrum stopped by to visit, mentioning his library consisted of 1,000 books. Now it’s one thousand and one, since I sold Two Wrongs to him!

Another person said, “I’ve never heard of you,” to all of us, which made me even more determined to get my brand out to the public.

Then there was the guy who stepped up to our booth, picked up Two Wrongs and bought it without even looking at it. I didn’t complain. It was gratifying to see that my first book, is still doing as well as the new release, though it’s been out longer.

All in all, I recommend going the Festival route and will sign up for this one again. It was a fun, gratifying, hot and tiring day, but well worth it!

Morgan Mandel

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