It’s time for the report on my first attendance at a literary festival from the other side of the table—as an invited writer! I admit now that I was more excited than nervous and quite surprised and flattered to have been asked to participate. For new writers who have not yet attended as an author, you may wonder how I managed to score the invitation in the first place.
A few months ago my friend Lynn (the same Lynn who introduced me to the Russian translator of my Russian documents and diary) suggested I contact my local library and ask if they would be interested in adding my book to their collection. So I filled out a form, sent them two copies of my book, and waited see if it passed their library test.
I never got an official okey dokey from them, but I continued to check their online catalog. One day several weeks after I delivered my book, I got a hit. There, in my Richand County, South Carolina library catalog, Do Svidanya Dad appeared—a book written by this damn Yankee! That was a very cool moment for me. So I suppose that’s why I was given the opportunity to be in yesterday’s festival.
There were thirty authors in attendance—two to each table. I shared mine with an experienced writer of what she called “cozy mysteries.” Fran Rizer is the writer of seven Callie Parrish mysteries and three other books including, The Horror of Julie Bates, which is set here in Columbia, SC.
She definitely was a veteran, so the first piece of advice she gave this novice was not to expect much, if any, in the form of sales at yesterday’s event, because apparently, the Richland County Library does not have a good track record for book sales. So although I was prepared for a miracle, I came with only the expectation of meeting other writers, getting more exposure for my book, and learning about the process.
Seated on the other side of me was Millie West, another fascinating and experienced writer. Millie has written two mysteries set in South Carolina and is also a licensed pilot, having worked as one of the first female pilots employed by UPS! The covers of her books are truly works of art. In fact, according to her website, they feature the work of Charleston artist Rick Reinart.
To help prepare for the showcase, I spoke on the phone to another local author, Arthur Turfa, whose book of poetry is called “Places in Time.” He was the one who suggested I bring the dish of candy. I am not usually a reader of poetry, but I think it is time to expand my horizons.
Because I will be undergoing hip-placement surgery in one week, I have to be very careful in avoiding any sort of disease-causing germs—even a cold—so I did not mingle as much as I would have liked. (I even told my daughter that if I see her children this week, it must be outside. I just can’t risk getting sick!) I had to pass on another similar event—a Meet and Greet at the Irmo, SC library. Hopefully, I will go next time.
In the meantime, I am getting ready to be sliced and diced next week. I will probably publish one more time prior to my surgery and then will be taking a break for a bit. I look forward to reading two of the books I brought home with me yesterday. Fran and Millie suggested that we trade books, which was a wonderful idea. So I will be reading Fran’s Murder is on the Clock and Millie’s Catherine’s Cross.
Incidentally, the photo taken below is a recreation of my table at the Showcase. In my excitement at being there, I forgot to take a picture.