At six AM last Saturday morning, I packed up my suitcase of books and SWAG (bookmarks, cookies, etc.), loaded my car, and travelled eighty miles to participate in a book fair. The fair coordinator told us authors she was expecting a big turnout. We needed to have at least ten copies of each of our books on hand and plenty of goodies to give out to customers. Let me just say my suitcase was HEAVY. As I tooled down the highway, I hoped it would be a lot lighter by the end of the afternoon.
To say that things didn’t go quite as expected is an understatement. Only a handful of customers appeared, and most of us sold nothing- Zip! Whether it was the heat or the Delta variant, folks didn’t show up.
My heart went out to the clearly frazzled, disappointed coordinator who had put so much work into the event and to authors who had travelled much further than I to participate.
But as I drove home that night, I reflected that the day hadn’t been a total disaster. In fact, I’d enjoyed it. I met some lovely writers, and since we had virtually no customers, we had plenty of time to talk. The gentleman who sat next to me, Erv Klein, was delightful. We swapped books, and I was able to bring home his award-winning historical novel, Subterfuge, to my history-loving husband who devoured the book in two days. In addition, I learned that Erv, the board president of Louisville Literary Arts, enjoys speaking to writing groups and book clubs. I knew he’d be a huge hit as a speaker for Derby Rotten Scoundrels, the Ohio River Valley chapter of Sisters in Crime, and we’ve now booked him for January.
We writers are an endlessly interesting and supportive group. Even when events go awry, I feel fortunate to be part of such a special community.