Yesterday I participated in the first Allegheny Regional Festival of Books as one of many featured authors in beautiful downtown Bedford, PA. My daughter, Chelsea volunteered to help me tote books and set up shop in one of four author tents.
Although the skies were overcast, things brightened after greeting friends I’ve met over the years through Pennwriters and making new friends among my fellow tent-mates.
It’s humbling and nerve-wracking preparing for these kinds of events. There is a sense of immense gratitude for the invitation to participate, as well as a foreboding anxiety wondering how things will fare. The little voice that whispers and wonders: Gee, will I sell any books today?
The weather concerned everyone. Outdoor events and rain do not bode well together. But the drizzle faded, the mood brightened, and folks meandered into our tent and bought books.
An hour into the festival, I sold my first book and breathed a sigh of relief. I texted my husband, Todd and shared the news. “I’m not sure how many books I’ll sell today. The weather’s lousy.”
Todd, eternal optimist texted back, “Don’t worry about how many books you sell. That’s not important. Remember, you’re building your brand. That’s why you’re there.”
Excellent advice. I shared his pep-talk with my tent-mates when I spied them glancing at their watches and pacing around to feed their Fitbits steps. I hoped the message comforted those struggling to sell books. And, I felt a strong sense of kinship as I heard the repeated elevator pitches about their work.
So I sold some books, made some friends, and can’t wait to do it again.