Last Saturday I had the opportunity to participate in the Culpeper Library’s Local Author Extravaganza. As with many library-sponsored events, patron participation was minimal. A bit disappointing for the twenty-five local authors who made the effort to come out with all their book sale paraphernalia. The library director has sent a thank you email and asks for suggestions on how to draw more people to the event in the future. How could the event be designed differently to garner more interest? I have a few ideas that I will share with her, but if you, my reader, have any ideas, please share!
In my mind the day was successful. I had a great time chatting with patrons and other local authors. Many came by my table, and took my business card. I fully understand that. I am not an impulse buyer. I would take information on the author, and then when I got home, check that person out, and if we connected, then I would purchase their book.
Connection is the key, isn’t it. And that is what I have to work on for future events. One of the authors passed out a two-page information sheet on his books that also included his background information. I had not had a chance to visit his table, but by reading his info sheet, I connected with him on two levels. First, he attended Syracuse University, just an hour away from the Ithaca area where I grew up and lived most of my life, and then I found out that he has written a book about a little boy who lived on Caroline Street in Fredericksburg.
I am on the task force to create a visible likeness of the Fielding Lewis Store (1750-1820). Fielding Lewis was the brother-in-law of George Washington, and both George and his mother Mary shopped at the Lewis Store. One of the features of our makeover of the store space is to sell some of the Historic Fredericksburg Foundation, Inc. publications, and I want to have items for children as well.
Reading over Skip Townsley’s information sheet, I see he wrote a book, The Messenger on Caroline Street, “...a heartwarming story of a little black boy who is hidden away in an alley in a small Virginia town by a mother desperate to save her son from her own life of slavery.”
Taking a page out of Mr. Townsley’s book … I need to develop some sort of flyer, rack card, or similar to introduce myself and my books to readers. In other words, I need to give readers a reason to purchase my book, either in trade format or Kindle.