The 9th annual Orange County Children’s Book Festival occurred on Sunday September 30th at the Orange Coast College campus. The weather was good, high eighties, the skies clear. Plenty of venders attended. Kareen Abdul-Jabbar promoted his book: What Color Is My World. Robin Priess Glasser, the illustrator of the Fancy Nancy series, also attended.
I shared booth 111 with Erik Hertwig, author of Are You My Friend, a story about how to choose your friends in life. I had met Erik at the Tucson Book Festival earlier this year. We both had separate booths and decided we should pool our marketing resources.
One immediate problem was that there was no Internet access. Sure, the campus had wireless Internet, just no username and passwords that worked. That hindered Erik’s iPad from making credit card sales. However, my iPhone worked just fine and we kept track of sales. Erik and I also took a dollar each off our books if we each made a sale to the same person. Both of us autographed our books and we pitched the other’s story when we had crowds.
More than enough families attended and it was nice getting in front of people to give out bookmarks along with black and white pictures for kids to color later. The problem was that the event was more of something to do on a Sunday. It didn’t have the feel of the Tucson Book Fair. By the end of the day, Erik and I sold eight books together and I had a total of ten sales. The booth cost $475.
I’m at the point of this blog where it would be time to head off on a rant. Rather than stewing about the event, I went out looking for opportunities.
More than book venders attended the book fair. I walked around and met with the local Girls Inc. and Kiwanis organizations, asked them what they did for fundraisers, and hopefully created a spark when I explained how I didn’t mind donating 40% of my net sales. I’m pretty sure I got everyone’s jaw quivering at the Jazzer booth when I left them with the second edition of Yalu and the Puppy Room.
Erik went exploring and came back with information about a group that attended California book fairs and they could use live authors at some events. There is opportunity out there, the tough part is finding it.