Going to the festival as a book reader? I have tips for you, too!!! Because really, we authors are also readers. We escape the booth and walk around looking at all the wonderful books as far as we can see. We struggle, because we need to be behind the table talking up our own books but we want to be out there admiring, thumbing through, turning over and plopping down the plastic for other peoples’ books.
So here’s how you do this. With a little preparation, you’ll have a great time and come home with exquisite reading material:
Arrive early. Parking is… a little challenging. There are buses, too, so if you take the time to do a little research, it could pay off royally. Driving down to USC from… uh… anywhere can be daunting, so know where you’re going before you get behind the wheel. Parking is $10.00.
Bring sustenance. Food is… a little expensive. April is normally warm, so bring bottled water and sunscreen. Hats are good.
Dress for comfort. Layer your clothes if the weather warrants. Walking shoes are a must.
Budget. Think about how much you want to spend, and expect to spend twice that much. Honestly, it happens! And while you’re thinking about how many books you’ll be toting home, also figure out how you’ll carry them. Some book devourers drag along those folding shopping carts. Others bring wheeled suitcases. Backpacks work, too. Booksellers may or may not have shopping bags.
Money! Bring some cash for those few vendors who are living in the dark ages. Most will take checks, and more are now accepting credit cards.
Get a map, so that you can mark booths you intend to return to. Better yet, buy the darned book when you see it the first time. And get it autographed!
Most important: Come meet the authors of MURDER, WE WROTE! Booth number will be coming soon.
Keep up with our plans by visiting our Facebook page!
For those of you into shorticons and abbreviations, this alphabet soup is the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books at the University of Southern California. (Whew; see why we shorten it?)
This will be my sixth or seventh year at this crazy, fabulous book event. With the popularity of small press and the influx of indie author/publishers, it’s a great place to pool resources in order to get in the door of an otherwise very pricey venue. This year, there will be NINE of us in the MURDER, WE WROTE booths, hawking all kinds of mysteries.
Authors: Going to exhibit for the first time? Here are some tips to help you prepare for the weekend!
- Promote in advance. Let people know, via blog, Facebook, Twitter—all the usual places—that you’re be there rubbing literary shoulders with such greats as [last year] Joseph Wambaugh, Anne Perry, Lee Goldberg, Gary Phillips, to name of few. When you get your booth number, broadcast it.
- Acquire giveaways. Pens, bookmarks, notepads, any number of small, inexpensive promo items you can easily get into readers’ hands. Look for things that might tie in to your book(s).
- Get a couple of cheap bookstands – Michael’s or even Wal-Mart has small stands that are sometimes sold as plate stands. Arrange your books attractively; go out in front and look at your spot, make sure it’s not so busy your visitors will go cross-eyed trying to see it all.
- Think about money: will you accept checks? Cash? You’ll need change for those first few buyers who hand you a $20.00. Credit Card? Check out “The Square” or “GoPayment” online for details on small card devices that will attach to your smart phone.
- Dress the part. You are not a visitor, a student, a street bum; look how you would expect a professional author to look. Promo t-shirt is okay, or even dressing as one of your characters. Inspire conversation!
Keep up with our plans by visiting our Facebook page!
Next up: How to survive the event and even make money!
Today I renewed my vow to raise a bunch of money for the American Cancer Society. I’m ready to hit the ground running! Team Check ‘Em Out is poised to break our record this year by building our team, trying new ways to fundraise, restaurant nights, dessert sales, percentage donations, and good old fashioned bowling-alley-panhandling! Hey, we’re not proud!
Well, actually, we are. We have a great team of dedicated, passionate and motivated members, each with a personal reason to fight this horrendous disease. Sadly, our Reasons to Relay still grow with each coming year, but we remain confident that our efforts will be rewarded someday.
Planning will soon begin for our SIXTH ANNUAL wine tasting,
POP A CORK FOR A CURE!
This awesome event will be held in early May, date TBD — but you can bet we’ll let you know. In the meantime, I’m humbly accepting donations at my Relay page. Donations of $100 or more will get you an autographed copy of my latest book–but I’d take just your Starbuck’s money for a couple of weeks, too!
Who’s with me?
How was 2011?
As they say in the market, it was rather “flat.” That being, some good, some bad, all balances out. Certainly business for Valdata Services declined as I saw three clients close their doors, one being my largest long-term customer. Sad, indeed, and I will miss these great people I interacted with on a daily basis. I wish them all much success (and stability) in the coming year.
Another downer was my inability to get any writing done; that is, if you don’t count the nineteen essays I wrote for school. After a negative experience with a neurotic and overtly rude correspondent, I lost some ambition which is finally beginning to return.
I probably gained 13 pounds this year, and my school obligations discouraged me from getting to the gym, which I subtly abandoned in August. (They actually called to see where I was!)
On the upside, school was great and I’m 9 units away from my degree. The tutoring job I took at the college was rewarding and enlightening. I met lots of wonderful people this year, writers, teachers, high school alumnus, cancer warriors, mountain dwellers, and a few brave souls still working in escrow. I moved to Android this year, and my 6 year old Highlander is still running like new. My brother survived a life-threatening illness. My sons are both working, my grandson is happy and healthy, my daughter is a beautiful, talented and resourceful teen, and my husband realized his dream of building a mountain home. I am incredibly blessed and thankful.
What for 2012?
I have plans, nothing earth-shattering. I need to get back to the Y. I’ll return to my tutoring job in the spring, along with taking 6 units. I’ll complete at least one novel—hopefully the third lighthouse mystery set in Los Angeles. I’m going to try to re-release a couple of my backlist novels soon. Will continue to work with both the SCV Education Foundation and the Circle of Hope*. I hope to do some public presentations similar to one I did on California lighthouses for the library this past January. Three more units in the fall will finish my degree in English.
I also want to cook more,and visit more. Friends. People I keep saying I want to see but never do. And amidst all this activity, I want to stay calm, and healthy, and grateful.
*PS – See one way I’m supporting the Circle of Hope here!
I really love this event. Very casual, laid-back, beautiful park grounds setting. It was here, a couple of years back, where my author pals and I met the venerable Ray Bradbury! This year, we will be rubbing shoulders with the very popular, best-selling author of SHANGHAI GIRLS, Lisa See. I can’t wait.
Just as important, I’ll be meeting up with a fine group of mystery authors. Yes, MURDER WE WROTE is getting the band back together! Joel Fox, Jenny Hilborne, Gayle Carline, Jeff Sherratt and Teresa Burrell will be joining Alyssa Montgomery and I for some dark, devious planning that just might involve criminal intent. We might even sell a few books at the same time.
If you’re local (or loco) and looking for a really fun afternoon with some really fun people (REALLY fun, I mean it!!) then head on out to Westminster Gardens in Duarte on Saturday, October 8th, from 10 am to 5 pm. It’s free to get in, free to park, free to enjoy the fresh air. Yeah, the books cost money, but they are still one of the best entertainment values around (you can buy two of mine for the price of one night at the movies!)
More info can be found here. Come on down!