I've been told I should use the word "excited" instead of "nervous" when describing what's going on, so last week was very exciting as I prepared for my first public promotional event: Prose in the Park, Ottawa's new literary festival. I had a lot of things to be excited about: how many books do I bring, will I have enough swag, will this be a good audience for my kind of writing (what I write is good, but it's not high-brow literature). I knew it was the first year for the festival so I was expecting the usual growing pain glitches.
Instead, I was pleasantly surprised with how smoothly everything came together. There were some glitches but they had people working to handle them and everyone was very pleasant and professional. I was with the Ottawa Romance Writer's booth, and we realized we'd forgotten table covers after we arrived. So we ran down the street to a Giant Tiger and picked up a set of pink bedsheets which we then duct taped to the tables. (I threw a roll of tape in my bag at the last minute because you'd be surprised how many problems you can temporarily fix with duct tape.) I also had to pick up a new pair of sunglasses since I lost mine in the store somewhere.
I was feeling a little worried that we wouldn't be set up in time but we got it all together smoothly. I set up my swag buttons and my own informal romance poll: what flavour of romance are you? Team Sweet (with heart shaped chocolate snaps) or Team Spicy (ginger snaps)? It was quite popular, getting a lot of smiles even when people didn't want a cookie.
Team Spicy ended up taking the day by a slight margin but Team Sweet was adequately represented. Perhaps not the most scientific poll ever done but it was lots of fun. More voting should be done with cookies.
I ended up selling 6 books, which I think was a fairly good turnout. (Speaking with other authors, the average was 3-4.) It was a nice day with lots of opportunities to speak with people. The weather cooperated, staying sunny but not too hot. (I had Ziplock freezer bags in my backpack, just in case it started to rain.) I'll definitely be back next year. One of my friends will be celebrating her first book and I'll have my second one out, so perhaps two or three of us will get our own table and tent next year.
It's made me really look forward to my table at Can-Con in the fall and given me renewed enthusiasm for working on Metamorphosis.