Last weekend I stopped by the Western Reserve Book Festival at Hiram College, which was a new kind of experience for me. Hiram, a lovely little liberal arts school (I actually applied there for college), was playing host to several dozen authors from the Northeast Ohio region (frequently referred to as the Western Reserve…we leave off the “Connecticut” part anymore).
I talked to a bunch of authors of varying genres, both traditionally published and independent; there was poetry, nonfiction (including some regional history), mystery, and (my favorite, of course) fantasy and sci-fi. I was especially excited to meet Cinda Williams Chima, a well-known YA fantasy author. I was really intrigued by her contemporary fantasy series set in Ohio.
A independent local bookstore, The Learned Owl, had copies of the authors’ books for sale. My mom bought a couple I thought looked interesting and had them signed for me…and then put them away for Christmas presents. So I’ll let you all know more about them a couple months from now haha.
I was also experiencing the event not just as a reader but also as an aspiring author. The idea that I might be in those authors’ seats someday was fascinating and terrifying all at once. I guess I don’t have to worry about the “business” side of writing until I’ve actually written something, but it was kind of a preview behind the curtain of that aspect of being an author.
Some of the authors had really good pitches for their books, others were more laid back in their approach. (To be fair, I went in the mid-afternoon so I have only sympathy for any author who was tired of talking by then. I would have been exhausted.) One in particular had the best hook I’ve ever heard; her book was a mystery-thriller intertwining the stories of two women and featuring a local “haunted” house as well as the text of actual letters her real-life stalker sent her. I was so intrigued by her “elevator speech” that I considered checking out her book further despite it not being my type of book at all.
Another interesting tidbit: I bought a board book for my little niece, and as the author was signing it she mentioned that it was not intended to be a board book at all, but rather a picture book (which would have been more appropriate for my niece’s age). But apparently the publisher had other ideas and changed it.
So all in all it was a great learning experience about authorship as well as a good time getting more books!