Many thanks to Vie Portland for supplying the Book Fair poster. Screenshots taken by me, Allison Symes. Other images created in Book Brush using Pixabay photos. Photo of me signing books at Chandler’s Ford Railway Station were taken by Janet Williams on my phone. Thanks, Janet. Many thanks to Jen Wilson for taking the shot of my signing my first book for Val Penny – this was back in 2017. Seems a world away now!
And I would like to say the much missed Fiona Park, whom I knew from The Writers’ Summer School, Swanwick, took the picture of me signing books there with my handbag slung across my shoulder. Fiona was a lovely soul and she left this world far too early.
I’m so pleased to be taking part in the Book Fair at The Hilt tomorrow, 8th July 2023. There is, of course, the obvious reason of being an author with books to sell. But the best reason is it is fantastic to see book fairs up and running again after the pandemic. It is even better having one right on our doorstep, pretty much. The books are coming to you, folks!
Books Coming to You!
When you consider our nearest bookshops are in Winchester and Southampton, with a small Christian bookshop in Romsey, to have books come to you in this way is useful. You also get to see what local authors are producing and it is a wide range. Plus you can get signed copies. (It’s always a joy to be asked to sign books for people).
I cover flash fiction and can put in a word for short story anthologies too – I cover material for those with not much time to read! I think that is important. People can be put off by the thought of not having much time to read so if they know there is a story form out there which covers that, then they’re more likely to read and from there go on to read more. It is my big hope for flash fiction – that it can lure into the reluctant reader (especially adults) and then gently encourage them to keep on reading.
I hope to write more next week about who was selling what but the one thing this fair does is give all authors taking part an opportunity to show what we do, writing wise.
If you love reading, why not come along and check out the range of books available? There will be something for most tastes. Every fair/event I’ve ever taken part in or been to as a reader manages this, I’m glad to say. It is what a book fair should be.
The Book Fair is also a great chance to check out authors new to you. Every author at the event will be very happy to tell you more about what they write. It is also a lovely opportunity for authors to network with each other.
I understand it is hoped this Book Fair will become an annual event. I hope it does too. But please come along and support it.
There are several things friends of writers can do to support them. One is obviously to buy their books. Another is to support them at events. We all welcome friendly faces to chat to! Another is to put the word out about the events. Word of mouth is incredibly important, perhaps even more so in this technological age. Why?
Well, if a friend recommends an event to me, especially a book related one, I am much more likely to check it out because I know my friend would not recommend unless they felt there was a good chance I’d be interested. And they’d be right!
Book fairs have been a highlight at many a school (great way to encourage further reading in youngsters) and I know there been some in the past over at Fleming Park (or as we should call it now, Places for Leisure Eastleigh. Hmm… I go swimming here. I still think of it as Fleming Park!).
I took part in a book stall at the Hiltingbury Extravaganza a while ago and another one which was held at the Age Concern Centre in Brownhill Road. Plus there was one at Hursley Park – all pre-pandemic and seems a world away now. The world has changed a lot since then!
But books haven’t changed. Their value and importance as sources of entertainment and education (the truly great books do both) won’t change. I’ve always loved browsing in book shops and events like this. Many a time I’ve picked up a book I wouldn’t have found otherwise. Maybe also in this difficult era, we need books more than ever. They can be a great form of escapism (and sometimes at least don’t we all feel the need for that escape?). Relatively speaking, books are cheap forms of entertainment too given you can read them several times.
I also want to say good luck to those who’ve pre-booked tickets for the Book Fair as your names will go into a raffle with a voucher as a prize which you can use with any of the authors taking part in the event. Free book basically! Incidentally, if that wasn’t possible, you can just turn up on the day of course. Everyone will be pleased to see you!
A New Normal for Writers
Just knowing there is going to this event has cheered me considerably. It is another sign things are returning to some kind of normality after the pandemic. What the latter has shown writers, I think, is that doing hybrid events – a mixture of Zoom and in person occasions – is going to be our new “normal”.
It is ironic that the pandemic has led to paying writing gigs for me at a time when I couldn’t go anywhere! The use of Zoom has also led me to running a flash fiction group online for the Association of Christian Writers once a month and this is another way of writers getting together.
The advantage of an in person Book Fair though is that readers and writers have a way to meet up to celebrate the world of books. Win-win there I’d say!
Hopefully, see you at the Fair!
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