I just came off of two days of May’d in Michigan, an event held near my hometown where I promoted my middle grade historical fiction, THE TOWN THAT DISAPPEARED. When I first read of the event, I thought, “What a clever title.” And since my book is about a Michigan town, it was written in Michigan, and I was made (born) in Michigan, why not try for it? I applied as a vender and was accepted. I sent in my vender fee, and then the panic set in. What in the world did I know about being a vender? I’d attended many fairs and festivals, of course, but only as an attendee. This was entirely different. In fact, the first morning, my nervous stomach was trying to convince me, “Phooey with the fee. Stay home and be safe.” But as I’m not really one who backs out of commitments, I ignored my innards and trudged warily onward.
My first thought of setting up at the event was to keep it simple. I’ve found that simple always a good plan. So I planned on a card table with copies of my book on it. With a chair and pen, I’d be all set. Of course, I’d be wearing my Victorian outfit with hat, so would physically be a potential draw. I knew I needed water so I wouldn’t dehydrate, and bug spray… so I wouldn’t dehydrate. By the time of set up, my “booth” was a bit more elaborate, including a newly purchased canopy, for which I was very thankful; not because it rained, because it hadn’t, but because we were in the woods. The canopy top, not my table top, was littered with fallen pine needles and bugs.
Financially during the two days, I pretty much broke even with the sale of my books, if you don’t count the fire extinguisher each booth was to have. I’m also thinking I was the only one with a fire extinguisher. It was tucked away under my little card table. Still, the weather was lovely and I was in the woods. (I love the woods.) By doing this, I stretched out and tried something new, and even sold a few books.
But the best of the time was that I got to meet new people. My husband bought me a t-shirt which reads across the front: “Careful, or you’ll end up in one of my novels.” Okay. I’ll change the gender or age or size or the person, but there are interesting characters all around us, just waiting to be written down. So go out and do some personal stretching. Try something new and meet new characters, I mean, new people. You may just find someone you put in your next story.