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keeping it real at the book fair - excerpted from a blog by Alaska Bike Girl , Rosemary "Rose" Austin, author, November 29, 2009.
I've spent the last three days at the Anchorage Museum selling my book at the annual ReadAlaska Book Fair.
The idea of the fair is to promote books that are published in Alaska. Most titles are by Alaskan authors. Art books, kids' books, memoirs of Alaskan experiences. History, fiction, guide books, science, calendars.
With all the authors on hand for signings, it sometimes feels like a social gathering just for us. But we also want to sell our books - lots of them. Each author has a little something they say about their books and I love listening to the hooks they use to draw in the sometimes-shy customers.
Another author, with his first book out this year, is Bill. I thought Bill would have a tough job getting his book to stand apart from the other personal accounts of Alaskan experiences. But his pitch is great. He'll tell the people strolling by, "These are real Alaskan stories." "Oh yeah?" someone might ask, to which Bill answers, "Yes, and mine are non-fiction." What I didn't notice until today was the sign he pointed to when he made his point. Once he broke the ice, people were laughing and ready to chat about his book, page through to look at some photos and maybe add it to their stack.
With all the recent hype about what's real in our country and our state, I appreciate the authenticity of these guys and many other authors who have labored, sometimes for years, for the right words, the best photo.
The book business is a tough business, especially when people don't believe the recession is over. Authors put in their time, energy and emotion; they agonize over the right words, then after they’ve typed the last period of the last sentence, they have the job of wading through the often grueling editing and publishing process to get their book to market. Having someone decide to buy your book directly out of your hands is a pleasant reward.
The Book Fair is a celebration of what each author has achieved, with many authors sharing tips and offering encouragement, a little smile or a thumbs-up. I don't think the shoppers see this, but the mezzanine sometimes feels like an office party where we all just got promoted. And I always leave with something new to read.