on Anne R. Allen:
Note from Anne: Book fairs are being cancelled all over the world right now. But even pandemics run their course. And as Nate says here, you need to start planning for a fair booth a year ahead of time. I don’t recommend book fairs for new novelists with one or two books. But fairs are great for nonfiction writers or novelists with an established series. (If you follow Nate’s advice!)
Book fairs and other local events can be a great way for authors to connect with readers and make new fans. They are immensely valuable. But at the same time it can be hard for first-timers to get the most out of an event.
That was certainly true for me. I didn’t used to go to events very often because I find meeting new people is stressful. But I have had to force myself to leave my comfort zone so that I could build my web design business. I had to go out and meet potential clients face to face for the exact same reason that authors should go meet readers.
If you wait for readers to come find you, you’re going to get lost in the crowd. There are hundreds of thousands of authors out there, all of whom are vying for attention.
The following post is a mix of mistakes I made at my first trade shows and tips inspired by my time as a volunteer at book festivals and SF cons.