I had the opportunity to sell my book, Where Love Once Lived, at the Texas Book Festival last weekend. Laura Bush, a former school librarian, founded the festival 15 years ago, and this year she spoke about her new book, Spoken From the Heart.
What surprised me the most was the size of the event. The streets around the Capitol were closed to vehicles and huge white tents popped up around the area. I had a two-hour slot to peddle my book in one of the long row of exhibitor tents in the middle of Colorado Street where it intersected with 12th Street.
When we first got there, I knew it was going to be big because there were no parking places available. We had to park on the fifth floor of a parking garage and lug two boxes of books down to the exhibitor tent, without the aid of an elevator. I'd originally planned to only bring about three dozen books and go back to the car for more if needed. But since it was so far to go back, I decided to take both boxes from the start, books plus a box of supplies such as bookmarks. I couldn't have managed it in one trip without help from Celeste.
There wasn't a time during the two hours that there weren't potential customers. The place was packed with people, all stopping, or at least glancing at what we had to offer.
I tried to get a book into their hands to make them feel some degree of ownership, but usually the book was quickly returned. Some took a little time to read the back cover before putting the book down. A few actually bought the book. A very few. Counting my friend Betty Caywood, who purchased two copies to give to friends, I sold a total of five copies.
However, the lack of sales wasn't a disappointment at all. I met some interesting people and learned that I can describe my book verbally. I handed out many cards and bookmarks and, perhaps, some of those will turn into sales.