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!