One of the most enjoyable parts of being an author is participating in book signings — and few are better than the L.A. Times Festival of Books.
For the third straight year, I will be signing books at the USC Campus on Sunday, April 22, from 3-5 p.m. It also happens to be my sister Karin’s 50th birthday, so getting from USC crosstown to Encino for the birthday dinner afterward will be interesting, but the afternoon is all about books, and my sister understands… I think…
I digress. On Sunday, I will be signing Voices, Backroad Melodies, Writes of Life, When We Were The Boys and Just Add Water at the Black Chateau Booth #912 in the Black Zone. I will be part of a two-day author collective put together by my publicist and fellow author in the 3-5 slot, Desiree Duffy, the owner of Black Chateau Enterprises.
The L.A. Times Festival of Books is huge, and awesome. Up to 150,000 people come for the two days to see a collection of bestselling authors, new authors, and entertainment ranging from panel discussions to live bands and very lively public question-and-answer sessions. The festival is the third largest of its kind in the U.S. It’s a book buyer’s and reader’s dream – and, for authors, a rare chance to talk with so many readers.
“I find that consumers like choices, so having several authors and books for them to chose from at a book fair, means that you are more likely to have something they’ll like,” Desiree says. “Book fairs can be exhausting. Authors signings can be draining. Doing an hour or two signing is much easier than committing to running a booth for an entire fest. It gives authors time to walk the fest, check out panels, and network.”
Since Desiree walks the delicate creative and time management tightrope between being a publicist and author (she’ll appear under her nom de plume, Vanta M. Black, to sign her novel Oubliette: A Forgotten Little Place on Sunday afternoon), she also understands the dual existence we writers lead. Often, we prefer to tuck ourselves into our offices and write, not connecting so much publicly — but books don’t sell if we don’t go public. Contrary to the beliefs of many, online presence alone does not beget success. The group signing helps even the shiest authors interact with their audiences.
“We are social beings. When we connect in person, that bond is stronger than it could ever be online,” she explains. “Being an author means being a brand. You are connected to your writing and being able to talk to people, share stories, learn about them as readers, and make connections helps strengthen your brand.
“Plus, what you do in the real world needs to translate to the online world. As an author at an event, being able to promote and post online about it gives you valuable content. Whether it is social media, your author newsletter, your blog or website, your book fest experience should be featured online. Online and offline exposure leverage one another, making each stronger.”
I’d like to introduce you to the other authors at the Black Chateau Booth (once again, #912, in the Black Zone), the works they’ll be signing, and their signing times:
Saturday, April 21:
11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Susanne Bellefeuille, author of Path of Lucas: The Journey He Endured
Autumn Doerr, author of Baker’s Dozen: A Lexi Fagan Mystery
1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
Christina Cigala, author of XXvXY: The Final World War
Bobby Goldstein, creator of XXvXY: The Final World War; and the TV show Cheaters
3 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Mark J. Rose, author of Matt Miller in the Colonies Series
Lon Varnadore, author of Mostly Human: A 4Pollack Novel
Sunday, April 22:
11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Sean Patrick Traver, author of Wraith Ladies Who Lunch
Raye Mitchell, Esq, author of How Women Negotiate from a Position of Strength
1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
Michael Priv, author of The Fifth Battalion
Laurie Finkelstein, author of Next Therapist Please
3 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Robert Yehling, author of Voices and Just Add Water
Vanta M. Black, author of Oubliette: A Forgotten Little Place
The booth will also feature books from Nanishka Torres, author of Fenrir Chronicles: The Prince; and Magda Ayuk, author of Blue Bird.
Each appearance at the L.A. Times Festival of Books has been a thrill: discussing pro surfer Clay Marzo’s life with autism in Just Add Water in 2016; and launching Voices to the world in 2017. This time, I’ll also be previewing Crawl of Fame, the memoir of Ironman triathlon legend Julie Moss, which officially releases on October 2.
As for Desiree? She well remembers the thrill of her first L.A. Times Festival of Books signing gig. It’s like runners feel about the Boston Marathon; I know I never get tired of that feeling when we arrive on the scene! “I had a booth the year I released Oubliette—A Forgotten Little Place. It was my dream to be there, and seeing it happen, was amazing,” she recalls. “I checked off an item on my bucket list. I think a lot of authors feel that way. There is something special about the L.A. Times Festival of Books. It is iconic. A must-attend.”
On that note, we’ll see you at Booth 912, Black Zone this weekend!