I’m a member of Texas Authors, Inc. and that organization sponsored this Festival. They hold them in several locations around Texas. I talked about this event last week, but now I’ve been there and can give you the real scoop.
Probably time to get a new banner.
To begin with, I’m not very good with geography, and I sometimes mix up similar names. When I first decided to go I thought I was heading to Southlake Square. This is a location less than halfway between me and the real location. McKinney is north and east of Dallas (we’re on the northwest side of Fort Worth). McKinney is west of Frisco, which I thought was the back of beyond, until driving to McKinney. 🙂
To top it all off, we had thunder storms forecast for all Friday afternoon and night. And the forecasters were correct. I couldn’t leave before almost 4 and headed out in the rain. A trip that should’ve taken a bit over an hour (we have great free –and not freeways in Texas. I 121 is mostly expressway the whole way.) However, on roads marked with a 70-mph sign, cars were doing good to go 20-30 mph. Flashing lights highlighted the danger as wrecks happened all around. Alternating glances between my phone and the surrounding traffic had me white knuckling it on the trip. Two and a half hours after I began I pulled into the motel. Pretty much deciding me to never go to McKinney again!
The trip home was done in 1 hour and 5 minutes, so I’m re-considering. 😊
But let’s talk about the Book Festival itself.
It was held in the old courthouse. You may not know most smaller Texas towns have a square with the courthouse in the center surrounded by stores and café’s., sometimes theatres. McKinney has done a nice job of rejuvenating its downtown square.
Must’ve been close to 40-50 Texas authors in attendance. One room had a larger number. I was in a smaller room with about 8 authors of all kinds of writing. Another upstairs room accommodated about another 8 authors. Downstairs in the basement you could find the children’s and young adult authors. I was glad for that separation. Some authors’ books have suggestive covers—not appropriate for kids. IMHO
Pic on L is my room. Pic on R-bigger room with author friends Gina Nelson, Kym Roberts stading, and Jerrie Alexander sitting in red top.
At two, there was a concert featuring Country Music Star Billy Dawson, a really nice young man. Came around and met us all and took pictures with us.
I liked the venue. Yes, we were broken up in different sections, but better signage could make up for that. No one can control the rain, which did put a damper on attendance. (Pun intended.) 😊
I and others had spent hours working on our 1 minute speech about our writing. About lunch time, the guys doing the recording came by. They started with the first author inside our door. People in the room were talking. And to be fair, there were readers looking at the authors’ books, but a recording was going on. I (being the director, bossy person I am) asked everyone to be quiet. The person gave her pitch. Then they came to me. Well, folks went back to talking. I really didn’t expect them and found the dull rumbles behind the camera very distracting. I should’ve been able to tune them out, but I couldn’t. My nerves show up in my twiddling thumbs, and the fact I forgot to mention where you can find my books: Amazon, B & N, and KOBO. Fairly important to omit. Here it is if you want to watch.
You have to click on Videos and then go down about 3 lines. You should find me. (Of course, I couldn’t figure out how to put just my video on there, but if you have time look at some of the others, you might find a new author or two. 🙂 )
I only sold two books, but I gave out a ton of Bitty Booklets, my little foldouts that have the first page and a half of a book, with bio and tags & covers for all my books. I haven’t noticed any immediate uptick in sales, but I’m hopeful that will come. The info for the McKinney Square Book Festival will be available for 6 months on at Link for Texas Authors,Inc.
More important than the number of book sales is the connections with new authors and all those cool people who came by. A lovely couple from Tennessee and a woman from California were especially delightful. Selling books is (besides having a good product) making connections. With readers and other authors. Old friends and making new. All very worthwhile. Look forward to attending another Texas Author’s Inc Book Festival.
I love that some of their funds go to DEAR Texas. The letters stand for Drop Everything And Read. Lots of schools have DEAR time during the day, the teachers, and everyone reads. Love that.
Are you familiar with DEAR? It’s not just in Texas. When was the last Book Festival you attended? Are you a “real” book person or an “e-book” person. Love to hear from you.
Interesting post, Marsha. You’ve been to a number of book festivals/signings so you have lots to compare this one to. It is too bad there was so much background noise during your minute talk. The speeches should have been done before readers arrived and it would have been quiet. It sounds like you still had a great experience. I’m glad.
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Hey. Susan, aside from the noise during the recording and the dreadful weather (which of course no one can control), it was a really fun event and I’ll go again. Thanks for stopping by.
Hi, Marsha! I wish you had more sales, but engaging is just as much fun! And love McKinney!!!
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Hey, Vicki. Yes, McKinney is a delightful place. Look forward to returning. Thanks for stopping by. 🙂
McKinney looks a lovely town and a great place for a book signing. I love the idea of the whole event, with the singer there, and the recording of the authors. Sorry you had such an awful trip to get there. I’ve been to one book signing so far – where I gave a workshop – and I’m due to attend another in August. I love them for the connections we make. Seems like you met up with some great people. Thanks for the write up. Wish I could have been there!
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Hey, Helena, yes, I did meet some cool people. I’m hoping to do one in Fort Worth in the near future, but have to fill out a complicated application. 🙂 I’m sure your August weather will be better than ours. 🙂 Excited about your new book coming out soon. Thanks for stopping by.