Book Festivals Tips

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Publishing Industry Book Expos Can Spread The Word About Your Book.

The publishing industry is host to numerous annual book expos throughout the United States.

Book Expo of America/BEA

  • This is the largest and only national publishing industry book expo in America. M any of the large and small independent publishers have a booth hosting a number of author appearances.

  • Book publishers from around the globe attend BEA. It's great exposure for foreign rights' sales.

  • There are educational forums for booksellers, publishers and authors, as well as special venues including author breakfasts, lunches, teas, reception and more.

  • In order for an author to appear, he/she need s to be submitted through their publisher. If your publisher is not attending, it’s unlikely that you will be able to participate in the scheduled programs.

  • All book expos are interested in the next season's book releases and will not usually accept author appearance requests for books that have been published more than three months prior to the expo.

  • Regional book expos: Publishers’ booths are representative to the size of the show as their space is a fraction of what it is at BEA, but that’s also because the physical convention floor is so much smaller. There are similar programs for authors and publishers to take part in as in BEA.

  • New England Booksellers Association/NEBA The New

  • Atlantic Independent Booksellers Association/NAIBA

  • Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association/PNBA

The above is an example of some of the regional shows. For more information, please visit their website.

Additional expos in other locales look at the following:

  • Mountains and Plains Booksellers Association/MNBA

  • Southeast Booksellers Association/SEBA

  • North Atlantic Independent Booksellers Association/NAIBA

These shows are invaluable for spreading the word about your new book, as there are booksellers from all corners of America and beyond.


What's Great About Appearing At A Book Festival?

Book festivals occur all over America and are wonderful family outings, held almost year round. They generally attract 2,000-35,000+ people over a one or two day period. The promotion and publicity generated by the book festivals is usually city or statewide exposure (More than likely, your publisher or you would never spend this kind of money promoting your book.). The festival organizers will have a bookseller on site, a national bookstore, Barnes and Noble, Borders or Books-A-Million or a local independent bookseller. Book sales may be on the soft side unless the topic of your book is geared toward a family oriented audience, but still books are sold and there is an autographing area for the authors to meet their fans.

Besides the terrific publicity and promotion, as an author, you are seen with your peers contributing to a charitable family gathering. There are all kinds of possibilities for media interviews by the local TV stations, newspapers, magazines, and radio. The attendees’ demographics run the gamut of anyone from the local firefighter to CEOs and children. Some authors I have represented have been approached by attendees to speak at a number of different venues including company sales meetings, librarians wanting to host a “meet the author” night at their library or a publisher or agent looking for an up and coming author to purchase their next story. Book fairs and festivals can be a place to be “discovered.”

Some well known book festivals in the U.S. include The Miami Book Festival, The Baltimore Book Festival, The National Book Festival (First Lady, Laura Bush started this when George W. Bush took office), The Texas Book Festival, The Los Angeles Times Book Festival, The Big Read in St. Louis, and Black Books Galore Book Festival in NY, DC, LA. Please visit: for a look at previous years’ list of book festivals.

If you’re up for some fun in the sun, meeting new authors, talking about your book or a chance to see your name in the news, then I strongly suggest you look into book festivals that are happening in your area or a place you may travel to in the future. Contact the fair’s city office of promotion and the arts or visit their website for scheduling details. Be sure to think ahead, their lead-time can be from four to six months prior or more.

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PJ Campbell
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