According to book promoters, now is the time for all good men and women to go to a book fair. The sun is shining, the weekend stretches ahead like a desert highway under a clear blue sky. Monday seems eons away. Yet as a writer, I’ve never participated in a book fair and never plan to.
Why? First, I refuse to buy my books so that I can turn around and sell them to the public. Nor will I spend a day or two sitting at a card table hoping to sell enough books to cover my entrance fee which is never cheap. To be honest, book fairs raise money for the promoters and not for the writers who sit hours in the sun living on hope.
Art fairs are different from book fairs because people can look at pots or paintings or pairs of earrings and know whether or not they like the product. It’s difficult to judge a book by its cover. People tend to buy books based upon a friend’s recommendation or a noted book critic or because they’ve read another work by the same author. People don’t usually leap at the chance to fork over money to an unknown author.
My advice to a writer like me who is trying to build an audience: don’t pay $50 for a table at a book fair. Use the money to buy postage and mail your book to book bloggers. They might give your work a review and if they do, you can use their endorsements for promotions. You might also manage a sale or two because of what they write.