Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Books Shouldn't Be Judged by the Press They're Printed On--A Taxpayer's Expense

Span Connection, the print newsletter of www.spannet.org, runs the headline "The Almost-National Book Festival." Writer Edward Allan Faine tell us that though care was taken to represent diverse groups, a wide variety of reading categories including ethnic and racial groups at the National Book Festival in our capital, one group was woefully neglected.

I’m sure you can guess which one. Sighhhh!

Of the 156 books of invited artists 2/3 were published by the six large conglomerates (many of them foreign owned), about 1/3 by large and mid-size independents, and nine by university presses. The writer of the article notes that there was one out-of-print chapbook by poet Michael Lind so at least out-of print got represented.

So where does that leave what many incorrectly call POD-published authors (really self-, subsidy- or partner-published). Exactly nowhere. By the way, this is a festival sponsored by the Library of Congress (our tax dollars?) and founded by former First Lady Laura Bush.

I have to say that the mix at the LA Times Festival of Books wasn't much better, though it is harder to caluclate because of the extensive free panels and seminars they provide. LA is known for its acceptance in general. I was hoping that attitude would be extended to books.

At least in Christine Alexanians' and my booth, there were authors published every which way. All were welcome this year. All will be welcome next. Those signing in booths are not the invited guests of the fair administration but rather talented, hard-working authors of books.

Books should be judged on their content. All authors deserve readers' consideration. See www.sizzlingbookfairbooths.blogspot.com for more information on how we make that booth successful. You can follow some of our ideas and processes for the booths you will be doing this spring, summer and fall.

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Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of This Is the Place; Harkening: A Collection of Stories Remembered; Tracings, a chapbook of poetry; and two how to books for writers, The Frugal Book Promoter: How To Do What Your Publisher Won't and The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success. Her FRUGAL book for retailers is A Retailer’s Guide to Frugal In-Store Promotions: How To Increase Profits and Spit in the Eyes of Economic Downturns with Thrifty Events and Sales Techniques. She is also the author of the Amazon Short, "The Great First Impression Book Proposal". Some of her other blogs are TheNewBookReview.blogspot.com, a blog where authors can recycle their favorite reviews. She also blogs at all things editing, grammar, formatting and more at The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor blog.

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