Number four has come and gone. Yesterday I attended the White Oak Author Fest at the Crest Hill Branch of the White Oak Public Library in Illinois. It’s the second year I’ve been to that particular event (only the third they’ve held) and I will say, they do a fantastic job.
My own attendance there was a mix. It’s a success in ways; it is a failure in others.
Let’s begin with the failure. Honestly, it is an extension of the same failures that I’ve been dealing with for these past few years. No new material is chief among them. I am here with the same books I had last year. Seven projects are waiting for me to review and revise. That’s seven stories that I should have available now (or close to available), giving me more options to draw in people. It’s frustrating to me to see how stagnant I’ve been in that respect. And I shouldn’t have been stagnant.
Another part of the failure of this event was that I felt terrible for the entire event. Not sick, rather I felt myself unravelling as I sat there, trying to look interesting and engaging, while inside I was stressed and anxious to a point that I was only just barely able to manage. I was not easy. I faked my way through it, but man… it was tough.
Then there was my display, my overall presentation. I did not prepare for this event like I should have. I was lacking a lot of things that would have helped draw people in. I could have had all kinds of information, visuals, and other things to make my table more professional looking, rather than the empty, thrown together mess it was. Again, more my fault than anything, only adding to my stress.
But let’s look at what was a success.
For starters, I learned. I learned more about myself, my shortcomings as an indie-writer, my anxieties, how to talk to people, and steps that I can take to make it better. I learned some marketing tricks from fellow writers. I learned that I can make it, earning my living from writing, so long as I stay with it and be persistent.
And I also added a few people to my email newsletter, growing the possibility of more readers.
Overall it was a good event, one I am going to repeat. I am going to seek out more of these events as well, looking to see if I can get in front of more people to better hone my skills at faking being an extrovert without the freaking out I am prone to. Just as I am working to clear my backlog of stories, I am going to start preparations now for the next event, even if it is a year away. I am going to do better next time.