Last weekend’s experience at the Sonoma Book Festival gave me a lot to think about. In my last blog I talked about the importance of your table’s location, the need for tablecloths, and the absolute necessity for your table to be in the shade. Another thing that I came to mind after I gave it some thought, was the difference between the exhibitors themselves.
There were those who had brought comfortable chairs for themselves in which they sat the entire six hours of the festival. Some of them were actually reclining in thier chairs. When anyone stopped at their table to look at their display, the exhibitor remained in his/her chair without even getting on their feet. If there was any discussion at all, it was at quite a distance between the exhibitor behind the table in a reclining position and the visitor on the other side of the table.
Others took an entirely different tactic. They stood in front of their tables and almost looked like the barkers at a circus hired to encourage visitors to enter their tents. It seemed like the only thing missing was their holding a cane with which to hook passersby around the neck to draw them nearer.
It is not my personality to be either one of those. I merely got to my feet whenever anyone approached and introduced my self as the author. Often the visitor then would have a question or two about the book. It is exactly what one would want at a book faire.
Once a dialogue is started, I found that manay visitors wanted to tell me their stories. These stories were about some member of their family or some acquaintance who might have had a similar experience to mine. It was a connection … a connection that aroused enough curiosity to make them want to buy my book.
That is my own personal approach and I couldn’t possibly have taken either one of the other tactics, no matter how successful they may have turned out for those writers.
Luckily I had the time and interest to listen to them, like they had done in regard to me and my memoir, Becoming Alice.