In February of this year I paid a deposit for a vendor/author table at the National Black Book Festival, which wasn't scheduled until October 2015. My book was still in the editing phase but I used the festival as momentum to finish the book and I looked forward to attending hoping it would help legitimize me as an author.
Past festivals boasted some very well known authors and after being around for more than half a decade I was convinced this was a pretty big deal. It was also an added bonus that it was taking place in my hometown- Houston. Side note: I actually asked a friend who had attended about her experience the year prior and she told me NOT to attend that it wasn't worth it but I had to see for myself. . .I had very high hopes despite her warnings.
The festival itself was scheduled for three days and I could draw this post out with a nit-picking critique but I will just say overall it was a bit of a disappointment.
PROS: I met other authors and we exchanged stories, tips and information that I am certain will be beneficial as my journey as an author continues to unfold. I got to hear Roland Martin speak.. .he was extremely candid as he talked about self publishing, sharing some very useful information.
CONS: I sold a dismal amount of books after being told that 1,000 people would come through the festival over two days (there were more authors than readers/visitors on both days). It rained and I am certain that was ONE deterrent but after speaking to other authors I don't think it was really promoted well and the location may have also kept people away, it definitely needs to be more centrally located. . .I traveled over 45 miles ONE WAY two days in a row!
All in all it was definitely a learning experience. I would not attend the festival in the future as a vendor but depending on the author/speaker line up I might go IF it moved closer to downtown.
It's really unfortunate because it is an amazing concept but I don't think the marketing and promotion is being maximized. I do hope that it turns around and returns to the glory days I heard about a few years ago.
Writer. Reader. Designer. Creative Spirit.
“I would advise anyone who aspires to a writing career that before developing his talent he would be wise to develop a thick hide.”