Why I Like/Don’t Like Book Expos

By - Hanna Perlstein Marcus
February 10, 2020
I recently participated in a Book Expo as part of a celebration of Main Street in a town in Connecticut. When the organizers of the Expo offered me the opportunity to participate, I hesitated for a little while. I was not sure how I should respond.

While I relished the chance to meet readers, other authors, and act as part of an overall project to promote the tradition, enticement, and ambience of a New England Main Street, I also knew that often an author does not sell or sign too many books at that kind of venue and that I would be competing with other authors for the visitors’ time and attention. Was it really worth my while to transport my books and my table set-up, prepare my Square for charge card purchases, and make sure that I had a sufficient number of books in my inventory as well as cash for change in case of a cash transaction? At first glance, I thought maybe not.

So, to make the correct decision, I had to decide whether, on balance, the opportunity to meet and interact with my fellow local authors (and this is a major factor since an author’s work tends to be very solitary), observe the dynamics of the venue (in this case a library), have reasonable transportation costs, and meet some old and new book fans (It does my heart good to hear others enjoy my work.), were enough to offset the probable minimal number of book sales. An author event, where I am the featured author and can provide an audience with more juicy tidbits about my books is an easier decision.

I’ve been known to decide in either direction about Expos, but this time, I acceded to attend. While schlepping my books in and out of the building was not the most positive aspect of the event, I enjoyed the chance to chat and commiserate with other local independent authors in attendance whose experiences were similar to mine, appreciated seeing how a library deals with a fairly large number of patrons in one evening, and expounded with visitors on some of the stories contained in my books. And… I sold a few as well!

I will probably continue to confront similar decisions about my participation in book events in the future and will evaluate the pluses and minuses of each one before I make my final determination. However, this time, the final decision to attend paid off! Thanks Mary Cheney Library in Manchester, CT!

However… also thank heaven for Amazon!





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