Monday, April 27, 2009

The L.A. Times Book Festival through the Eyes of a Small Press Author

Recently, I was honored to host author Marilyn Meredith, author of No Sanctuary on her virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book Promotion. Meeting her this weekend at the Los Angeles Times Book Festival was one of the thrills of writing this blog. When you write about celebrities whether they are movie stars or book authors it’s nice to meet them in person.

Here is Marilyn’s guest post/review on the festival.

This was the third time I've been to the L.A. Times Book Festival. For those who've never been there, it's sprawled all over the UCLA campus--which by the way is beautiful.

Each booth is housed in a white tent and they seem to go on forever and ever. Thousands and thousands of people come. There are bookstore booths, publishing company booths, college bookstore booths, library booths, single author booths, booths advertising all sorts of things from health products to every religion you can imagine and some you never imagined, and of course, food booths.

In order to get to the festival, first you must find a place to park--there are plenty of parking garages. Then you must be prepared to take a long walk. If you are toting books for signing, like I was, then you need some kind of conveyance for transporting them--which I do. Actually we pulled along two rolling beverage carriers filled with books.

If you are a big name author and signing in a bookstore's booth (there are lots of these), the bookstore will order them and bring them for you.

I had two signing spots: one hour both days in the Author Co-op Booth and a two hour slot in the L.A. Chapter of Sisters in Crime's booth.

In the Co-op booth I only sold one book each day during my short time period, but I certainly talked to lots of people and my husband handed out many cards with my website and information about my books.

The Sisters in Crime booth had an advantage in that it was right in the middle of the action and it was a corner booth. Six authors signed at a time, but I sold nine books while there.

Of course this comes nowhere near paying for what it took for me to get there. It's a three and a half hour drive and we stayed in a motel two nights and of course had to pay for food.

Was it worth it? In monetary terms, no. I think every author ought to experience it at least once.
It's absolutely mind-boggling! If you got tickets ahead of time (free) you could see and hear all sorts of celebrities who have written books, including Mary Higgins Clark and her daughter.

For me, one of the pluses was meeting Rebecca who hosts this blog! I also met someone who graduated from the same high school in L.A. that I did, though she graduated a couple of years before I did. I ran into author and friend, Sue McGinty, who lives in San Luis Obispo twice. I also got to see another author friend, Gay Kinman, who lives in the L.A. area and haven't seen since we went to the Edgar Awards in New York together.

Drawbacks: It's easy to get turned around and sometimes hard to find what you're looking for. Food was overpriced. During the busiest times, lines for the bathroom were long. The pluses far out-weigh the drawbacks. It's a once-in-a-lifetime experience--and I've done it three times.

Marilyn a.k.a. F. M. Meredith
Stiletto Gang:


Mr.AR said...

It is nice blog I will visit it back! I also like
to view celebrities pics and much

Cheryl said...

Thanks for sharing your experiences ladies. I would love to go one day, but there is that whole opposite side of the country, my hatred of flying, and my little girls to consider.

Keep up the great work!


J.W. Nicklaus said...

Tucson recently had a similar book festival (which I was unable to attend), but I understand some insane number of people showed up. I was heartened by the numbers, given all the doom-and-gloom talk about books and publishing. I strongly believe books will be around for a long time, and give little credence to the naysayers.

I've given thought to participating in a couple of arts-type festivals out here, and this article was a great way to get a birds-eye view of such an event!

Anonymous said...

I have always wanted to attend. maybe some day i'll be there as an author!!!!
Jo Ann Hernandez

F. M. Meredith, author said...

Believe me, I was excited to meet Rebecca too.

I wrote this article for her when I was worn out so hope everyone excuses the typos.

Marilyn a.k.a. F. M. Meredith

(By the way, Rebecca, I've been trying to email you privately and yahoo keeps rejecting my messages.)