Down at the local author fair

N A Rossi at Sydenham Library
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I’m not sure which looks more scary – me or my book covers!
My local council organized a book fair for authors at the weekend. The variety of works on sale was incredible.
I shared a table with a non-fiction writer, Vanessa Potter who has written two popular neuroscience books, and Jonathan Gibbs whose repertoire includes literary fiction and a long poem written in lockdown, after the style of Louis MacNeice.
Next to us was Andreena Leeanne, a poet and lived experience speaker who also talks to corporates about diversity and inclusion focusing on intersectionality.
An unexpected highlight for me was when fellow author Val Portelli noticed the Bowie influence on my covers. “I knew David,” she said, “and his mum. Being a Beckenham boy and all that.”
Yet, in spite of there being something on sale for a broad range of tastes, hardly anyone bought anything from any of us.
It could have been that most people who visit a library are in search of a book to borrow rather than to buy. Maybe they are just there for a cup of tea (served in lovely china cups) and a chat. Perhaps the increase in COVID infections, or fear of the latest variant put them off. Also, the location of the library was not somewhere that would attract much passing footfall.
I’m still glad I did it though. Meeting other writers continues to be an inspiration and a joy. More events are being planned in different venues, and I’m now on the list as someone who can be relied on to turn up.
When one visitor said, “I don’t suppose you have any science fiction do you? That’s my thing…” I put my hand up right away. He took Rockstar Ending and even refused the discount I’d applied for the day.
In writing, just like marketing anything else, finding the people who ‘get it’, and making contacts with others in your field, is what it’s all about.

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