I shared the tent with Patrick Scalisi, another local author I was meeting for the first time. We swapped writer talk—one of the benefits in participating in such an event. He is both dedicated to his writing (he writes for an hour before he goes to work every morning) and is aggressively building his career as a writer. For example, he has been giving talks about writing and publishing in libraries, building a mailing list, and selling books at the ends of those events. I was impressed.
|Patrick Scalisi and I, ready to talk up our books at Avon's Local Author Festival|
Another benefit of participating in something like a Local Author Festival is the opportunity to talk with people, readers and otherwise, about books, about reading, and, of course, about one's own work. This is a situation where the author needs a polished elevator speech, the two-minute (or shorter) description of a book that can engage the prospective reader's interest.
I do not believe you can "sell" a book. If a person does not read mysteries, nothing I can say about Death in a Family Business is going to persuade her to buy it. On the other hand, if someone is interested in a beach read, I can give a precis of The Girl in the Photo and, as it happened, sell the book. Patrick found readers interested in The Horse Thieves, and Other Tales of the New West. All in all, I found it a rewarding experience.