Last week I participated in a Local Author Showcase. The event was sponsored by a local public library. The library reached out to authors on Long Island in October to see if we would be interested in attending the event. I knew this would be a great opportunity for me to share both of my books, Gertie Saves the Day and Two Wins for Wiley. What originally started with 40 authors quickly grew to 50 authors.
We were greeted in the parking lot by volunteers who were there to help authors who needed help bring in their boxes of books. Inside we were guided by volunteers to our location in the library. Since my books are picture books, we were guided to the children’s section of the library. This Author Showcase was open not only to picture book writers, but teen and adult authors as well. Each group had their own section in the library. This is a spacious and beautiful library. I was impressed to learn that they even have their own cafe!
Picture Book Section
Once in the children’s section I was asked to select a table and asked if I needed any help. Some authors were there early and were already set up. I selected a table near the center of the children’s section. I was hoping it would be a good spot for the flow of visitors. There were empty tables, but I select a table with another author. I knew in advance that I would be sharing a table as there were at least 30 picture book authors. I did not feel crowded. There was plenty of room for both of us to share our books and materials.
Picture Book Authors
This was the first in person event for many of the authors. It has been quite a few years since this event was held. It was fun for me to meet other authors and talk about our experiences as writers. Surprisingly, there were more hybrid authors than I expected. As we all know, it has become increasingly difficult for authors to get a contract rom a traditional publishing company. Several of the authors I spoke to are either self published or have hired a hybrid company to help them publish their books.
Local Author Showcase Presentations
Initially, we were asked if we would like to present. The library had set up an area where authors could present for about 15 minutes. We were asked to talk about our writing and our books. There were only three slots available for picture book authors. I did not get selected, but I did enjoy listening to the three authors. I always love how authors read their stories aloud with voices and expressions. All three presenters were amazing as they shared their books, answered questions and provided some hands on experiences for children.
The library provided each attendee with a passport. As they traveled around the library they could visit any tables they wish and ask the author to sign one of the ten boxes. When they had all ten boxes signed, they were asked to hand in their passport for a chance to win a gift card. What a great idea! This encouraged the attendees to stop at each table. The event was well attended by children, parents, grandparents and even a few teachers. We were able to talk to children and parents about what they like to read and they had some questions for us about writing books. I hope a few of the children do become authors.
Naturally, all of the authors were hoping to sell a ton of books, especially for the holidays. I sold a few copies, but many of the children who were buying books were older and my books were too young for them. In fact, I think it is fair to say that the audience for my book were not in attendance. They were home with their young children. I was happy to sell a few books because there were authors who did not sell any books. The majority of us sold a few books.
Reflections – Local Author Showcase
I was extremely happy to have been invited to this event. It was a great experience and I learned a few things for my next author showcase. Guests like free food. In the photo above you will see candy canes on the table. I checked with the library and asked if I could bring the candy canes. It is always best to check with the venue first. In fact, another author had lollipops in a basket and they were a big hit with the children. Guests also like to get free stuff. I brought bookmarks and coloring sheets with me and I noticed that many authors also had bookmarks. Children also like hands on materials, they are curious by nature so if you can tie your book into an activity you will have children visiting your table all night. There was a table with a Play-doh activity that drew a crowd most of the night. It did not necessarily equal more sales, but getting them to your table is a start. Overall, it was a fun night and I am ready for my next local author showcase.
I am so glad you’re here and I thank you for taking the time to read this post. I am grateful that I can share my writing journey with you.
I’m looking forward to helping you as a children’s book writer in any way that I can. Speaking of helping — please leave a comment below and let me know what questions you have about picture book writing.
Know someone who would be interested in this content? Please forward this blog post to them and encourage them to subscribe to my newsletter. Check out my new updated website for several FREE resources for children, parents and teachers, librarians and homeschooling families.
I am now booking author visits for 2023. In the past few weeks we have been to 8 schools to share Two Wins for Wiley. The children were very excited for us to visit their school. Please consider an author visit and book early! Concerned about the cost of an author visit? Check out this article, while it is an older article, it is a jumping off point.
One last request …
You can really help this author by leaving a book review on Amazon or Goodreads. You can leave a review for Gertie Saves the Day here or here. Two Wins for Wiley here or here. Reviews can be as easy as 2-3 sentences and should take about 30 seconds to leave and would make a huge difference for me. Need help? Click here.