I recently had the fantastic opportunity to participate in Schlow Library’s annual BookFest, which occurs in partnership with the Central PA Arts Fest. This was my first year participating as an author, and after working my table from 10am – 4pm, the one word that crossed my mind was:
Those 6 hours (in heels, no less!) flew by. Schlow Library kindly set up a tent for all of us 18 authors to run our tables while being protected from the sun, and the tent was packed with readers and writers the entire time! My table was at the back of the tent, which meant that I had an excellent spot to chat with attendees as they made their rounds. I met with writers and readers of all ages–including a little 7-year-old girl who, when asked if she was a writer, responded with a resounding, “YES!”, a middle-school-aged boy who had already written a novel, and a new mom starting a new university job and hoping to get some writing time in as well.
On my table I provided handouts with writing prompts for all ages, some of them written by me and some written by my children (thanks kiddos), offering a free writing critique for a 500-word story based on one of the prompts, or another 500-word piece an author would like to share and receive some feedback on. I’m looking forward to reading the work of other writers in my community–so get your stories in!
The joy of talking with people who love to read, who love to write, and who simply love the power of words for that length of time was invigorating (although I did sleep like a baby that night). I feel so grateful that I had the opportunity to meet other local and regional authors, to share my book with potential readers, and to hopefully inspire other writers to keep working on those manuscripts. So many of the writers I met while they visited the tent immediately dismissed their own work as of little value, and I tried to emphasize in our conversations that every writer feels that way. Take heart, keep writing and growing, and have faith that hard work yields quality. It’s an old adage, but a true one: Every published author was once a writer with a manuscript, revising, revising, and revising away.
Keep Calm, Dear Friends, and Write On!
Special thanks to Jaru Copy Services for making my table posters on the fly–they looked fabulous and I received many compliments on them!
And another special thanks to Gesine Bullock-Prado for once again proving herself the doyenne of all things buttery, pastry, and delicious. Her recipe for Brown Butter Brown Sugar cookies were a huge hit at my table, as evidenced by the empty crumb-filled plate by the end of the day. You can get the recipe at her blog. And if you are so inclined as to want to take a baking class with her personally, read more about my experience at her Sugar Glider Kitchen here (Spoiler: It was AMAZ-ING!).