On Saturday, November 7th I attended the Tampa Bay Book Fair, put on by the lovely Tiffany Razzano from Wordier Than Thou, a St Pete based open mic group devoted to fiction and creative writing. I attended with my writers group, the Ink Slingers Guild, and as Senior Editor for Witching Hour Publishing. Basically that meant I bounced back and forth between two tables, schmoozing and chatting and having a generally good time talking all things books.
The location was a very nice two-story building in Pinellas Park, at what I guess is the Park Station. Not being from the area, I just followed my navigation app. Set up of the tables was smooth and easy, with plenty of book carts and dollies available, which was very appreciated. Our tables were the longer thinner 6′ tables, which made for a bit of a crowded display space, but if eight women can’t put their heads together and organize the heck out of a display, something is seriously wrong. We made it work and it was gorgeous! Here are a few of us. Sorry about the photo being a bit blurry – a man took the picture.
There were quite a few authors who attended the Fair, (I heard about 40 tables were booked) and the genres ranged from children’s to horror and quite a bit in between. I listened to a very moving reading done by Jim Miller from his book of shorts, Nobody’s Looking. Tamara Lush was there, with her book Hot Shade, a romance I’m looking forward to reading, and I got to meet and chat a bit with Lynn Waddell of Fringe Florida fame. (Definitely a book I am going to read!) I have to give a shout out to the most urbane of authors present, Austin Collins. His books Dicing Time for Gladness and Crass Casualty have a permanent home on my bookshelf. I hope to see book 3 soon. Hint Hint.
Attendance wasn’t as big as we’d hoped. The Fair was a bit hard to find, and there were a couple of larger festivals taking place in other areas nearby. Park Station didn’t feel like a place people would walk by and just happen upon, so those who did come to the Fair were really looking for us. Unfortunately, it felt like the people who did show were mostly friends and family there to support “their” authors. A bit more marketing and promotion and a better location would have generated a lot more interest from new readers for the authors who participated in the Fair. More readers means more book sales, something every author loves.
I have a tremendous amount of respect for Tiffany though. She conceived of this idea, managed to get a bunch of authors together in one spot (which anyone who’s worked in this industry knows can be a little like herding a clowder of kittens), and put together a very nice line up. If the marketing and location issues are resolved, and Tiffany is courageous enough to try this again, I know Witching Hour Publishing would more than welcome the opportunity to participate again.
As a group, we Ink Slingers always manage to have a good time and the Book Fair was no exception. We sold some books, met some great people, and made some new friends. It was a fun day all around and I’m very glad I came down to be a part of it.