Free Short Story and Book Festivals


Lots to talk about and I am sorry this is so late today. I just got in from the SC Book Festival and a library talk in Barnwell, SC (which was such fun!). I am behinder than usual today!


This is for ya’ll! A link to a free short story introducing my new character, Jane Yellowrock, who will appear in the forthcoming book, Skinwalker (July 09)


After reading some other blogs posted here over the last few days, I know I am not the only one who had a difficult time writing lately.  Things are better for me now.  Here’s why.


I know we’ve talked a bit about book festivals and events in the past, but I’d like to share my current thoughts. Some events are better than others for meeting old fans, making new fans, selling and signing books, etc. Apart from the obvious idea that a dark urban fantasy writer like me would bomb at a mystery book con, or that a mystery and thriller writer like my AKA Gwen Hunter would bomb at a romance convention (been there, done that, it was both agonizing and hilarious) there are some important differences between cons and festivals.


Conventions tend to be genre related and attract a lot of readers with pretty specific tastes. ConCarolinas, coming up soon, where David and Misty and I will be guests, is one such, and we know exactly what to expect. Lots of fans, lots of fun, being busy with panels and seminars from 9 am to 10 pm every day, and everything at the con will be right down our alley. A book festival is different. All sorts of books and all genres of writers are featured, from children’s books to antique books, to literary, romance, poetry, thrillers, and even SiFi and Fantasy. The attendees (this festival was free to get in and very well attended) are usually readers with a wide range of interests — adventurous readers.

And these readers don’t mind telling you what they like and don’t like about our stories, our publishing situation, our characters, and… um… our own hairstyles, weight gain or loss, and anything else they happen to notice. (grins) In my case, it helps that they see me every year and think of me as a friend.


Yeah, I go every year, even when I’m not speaking, teaching, or being on panels. My AKA has always done well at the SC Book Festival. [It is put on by the Humanities Council, and until the nation’s financial collapse it was well run and well funded. (I have no idea if it will be well funded next year or not. Sigh…]) I sign at the BellaRosaBooks booth, along with a large and varied group of writers, and BellaRosa gets in the books and handles the sales, freeing me to meet people. That is the norm, and my AKA is successful, selling and signing some 50-75 books every festival.


But this was the first time that I, as Faith Hunter, did well there. I had fans come by to get books signed, and to register for the jewelry giveaway I ran with some of the jewelry I’d made while learning part of the craft of my character in the Rogue Mage books, Thorn St. Croix. I met new fans, who were attracted by the dump out in front of the signing booth, and I got lots of feedback on the Rogue Mage’s new massmarket PB covers vs. the old trade PB ones. I had a blast. And I learned that a dump next to the aisle is the way to go! I’ve invested in one and it was worth every penny. I also learned that I look skinny in black, healthy(not sure what they meant by that one) in purple, and that my eyes are not the same color as last year. Really. I have been assured that I am wearing purple contacts. (Not. Can’t. Just have hazel-gray eyes that pick up whatever color I’m wearing, but I could not convince her of that.)


And the fans were soooo supportive. They all think of themselves as my friends. I came away wanting to make them happy, wanting to write, wanting to create stories that they will love to read. It was a rejuvenating experience. I reeeeeally needed it! Hence the thank you of the freebie giveaway short story. And my gratitude. Writing is a solitary experience. This weekend allowed me to see, once again, how much this solitary lifestyle is appreciated by fans and readers. So, I am diving back into writing with a renewed excitement and energy.

Oh – and the cover for Skinwalker is Too. Die. For! I’ll be putting it up here soon!

Faith Hunter
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10 comments to Free Short Story and Book Festivals

  • Glad it was successful for you. I did the Virginia Festival of the Book last year and had a great time. I’ve also done Nashville’s Southern Festival of Books. You do get a more eclectic group at a festival — no guarantee at all that they’ll like a particular genre. But they are all book lovers, and that makes it a very special time. If the organizers tell you they’re looking for others in the genre, please feel free to give them my name….

  • Oh, and the book cover is really good. But the story is great.

  • Thank you! I had a great time writing it.
    I’ll give them your name, and Misty’s, and Catie’s for next year. I think it’s time they did a Fantasy Event!

  • Beatriz


    Thank you for the story. Ya made me cry!

  • Wendy

    That story was a great way to get someone interested in Jane. Definitely on board for a character who is unused to having friends. 🙂 Thanks Faith!

  • Thank you Beatriz and Wendy. I am not good at making friends myself, but I do tend to keep them forever when I do.

    Errr. Not in the basement or chained in the attic.

  • I am saving the story for the weekend, when I’ll have five minutes to read it without being interrupted. But in the meantime…

    That COVER!!! WOW!!!

  • Thanks Misty! I’m still happy dancing!
    The heroine is not nearly so pretty in the book, but they got the weapons, bike, clothing, hair, skin tone down perfectly! I am in heaven!

  • Fantastic Faith, that sounds like such a wonderful experience.

    Just a noob question: what do you mean by a ‘dump’ next to the aisle. A dump of what? 🙂

  • Hah! Hayley, I didn’t think to explain. (slaps own head)
    You know those self standing book racks, made of heavy cardboard that hold a large number of one title, or all the titles of one author’s books? In the grocery store they hold Parmesean cheeze on the tomato sauce aisle or bananas on the cereal aisle? They are called dumps. Not a very romantic name.