A friend recently asked me how I get into so many local author/library events. There’s not really a genius plan to it or any secret, it’s a “daisy chain” of networking, luck, interest and availability. Between my one day at Ad Astra and the Vaughan Public Libraries local author book fair, I met the same contact who kept inviting me to The Bookshelf in Newmarket, so that brought me there. A Toronto group I’m in, and the VPL local author book fair, both have another friend who just invited me to the next appearance I will make. It will probably come full circle when I make sure I vend at Ad Astra next time.
On July 20 at Albert Campbell Library, there will be a Toronto Public Libraries local author fair from 6:15PM until 8PM. I will have a vending table set up with a monitor to screen a select book trailer, and copies of The Gift-Knight’s Quest for sale with autographs. I will also read a selection of the sequel, The Crown Princess’ Voyage, and aim to stay within the five minute mark–time limits get tricky with my stutter, but I tend to aim for less than five minutes’ worth of material under “alone” conditions so there’s a time buffer to work with. I’m long winded and wordy and that poses a selection challenge, but I’ll find something that works. Then there will be a question period. I won’t be the only presenter, of course, but I’ll post more information as I get it (if necessary).
Back to the point of live events, it’s also a matter of where you are, and where you’re willing to go. Years of trekking into Toronto on public transit for social events has somehow grown on me, which is good because I don’t know how many events happen close to where I live; the VPL event happened within my city, but my city’s also like a bunch of towns and villages that were redrawn into one map boundary some time 25+ years ago to make a municipality. No place I’ve lived is 100% close to everything I want to do, and the closer places are also more expensive to live in. If you don’t live close to anything and commutes don’t work for you, there’s lots you can accomplish on the internet instead.
Here are also a few facts that I’m repeatedly told. If you have one book and are starting out, you’re going to these to hand out cards; by all means have books on hand in case you get lucky, but you’re dispensing information and building your author profile. It’s going to be all about the conversations you have, the fun and the connections. It will have nothing to do with immediate profit. The only time I break even on book sales versus venue fee is when I don’t have to pay for my table at all, and that’s rather normal. And it’s good that I have gotten any interest at all with a single book, when I’m often told to expect nothing until I have at least two books out. I’m working on that.