Today I returned home from a weekend book festival. With the economy the way it is, sales weren’t the best but I learned an invaluable lesson. I met other authors like myself. Some of them even write for Teens and ‘Tweens. We talked about each others’ books and writing process. We bought and sold our wares from and to each other. We even compared out displays and marketing strategies. But this is not the lesson I’m talking about.
As I was setting up my table, a woman entered the room with several children and went about stacking books and putting up upright banners. One of the banners was double sided displaying a picture of two of her children – one of each side. At first my assumption was that this woman had written a couple of books and placed their pictures on the covers. But after watching her for a while I realized my assumptions were totally incorrect.
What I learned was that the children were the authors – ages 10 and 15. They started writing for different reasons and their books are written for the child and ‘Tween audience. Oh my gosh…and you should have seen them working the attendees. They were inviting the passersby to the booth, pitching their books, and doing a fantabulous (one of their words) job of it, too.
Later that day one of their siblings came to my table to purchase a book. We were having a very serious discussion about book marketing, promotions, and the importance of having a ‘clean’ manuscript. Some of her responses confused me. For clarification I asked her which of her siblings’ books she was referring to. Stacie (not her real name) said, “I’m talking about my own book. My mommie says I’m not old enough, yet. She says that I can’t publish until after my birthday next month. Then I’ll be 8.”
Needless to say, I just about fell off my chair. Stacie told me the premise of the book and I must say it’s a really good one. But I can’t share it. I’ve been sworn to secrecy. Honestly, watching these kids pitch and more than hold their own inviting the attendees to purchase their books was mind blowing. They have taught me a thing or four. And trust me, it wasn’t about their being cute! I think my days of whining about how difficult things are have come to an end.
I have definitely learned quite a bit this weekend thanks to the Eneli family. What about you? –Stephanie Jefferson