When I was on the airplane to the Capetown Book Fair, the man next to me asked why I was going to Capetown. I told him and he said, “A fair for books? Hmmm. Well, it takes all kinds”.
He obviously didn’t see the use of book fairs and, unfortunately, there are still many writers who feel the same; I am not one of them. Book fairs have so many positive attributes, if I had my way I’d attend every one I could.
Let’s take a closer look at how attending book fairs can help you.
1. Rub elbows with the Big Guys.
Most book fairs have one or two big names on their list. They will often be scheduled for talks and book signings. This is an opportunity to ask them the questions you’ve been dying to get answers to. They have gone through it already; why not tap into their resources?
2. Get free stuff
Definitely you will come home with a ton of cool bookmarks. Often you can get free books, magazines, bags, pens, post cards, calendars, writing pads, and pencils. I love free stuff and take everything they want to give me.
Go with business cards and give them out to everyone you meet. Take everyone’s business cards too. Book fairs are fantastic networking opportunities. You might even go with a few packages of your latest manuscript (synopsis, cover letter, first three chapters) just in case you happen upon a publisher who seems keen to look at your work. Be bold, but not pushy. You can always get the contact and email when you get back home.
Book fairs usually have many different workshops going on simultaneously. I’ve attended workshops on rights, book cover design, anthologies and their payment plans, among others. All were excellent and free after paying the entrance for the book fair.
5. Speaking Opportunities
Book fairs are often looking for speakers. Why not offer your services? Speaking is exposure, exposure means selling books.
These are just a few of the reasons why book fairs are valuable to writers, both emerging and established. So, book your travel plans for the next one!
Lauri Kubuitsile is a full time writer in Botswana. To make a living, this means she writes anything that requires words being placed sensibly on a page. Her writing has been published on four continents. She blogs at Thoughts from Botswana.