Event write-up: Indian Prairie Authors’ Fair

Road Trip: Rockin’ the Suburbs*

event: Indian Prairie 1st Annual Authors’ Fair
venue: Indian Prairie Public Library in Darien, IL (
cohorts: mystery authors M. E. May and Sue Myers

My Sisters In Crime friends, M.E. May and Sue Myers, are nice enough to get me into the first annual Indian Prairie Authors’ Fair by implying that we’re a trio of writers who travels everywhere together. Granted, there aren’t any beefy-armed bouncers holding the line at the library front door, but I am very grateful nonetheless.

“Road trip!” M.E. May says in her very quiet voice. I’m in the front seat next to driver, Sue Myers, who has her good ear turned toward us. We met at a central point, and Sue is driving us south to Darien.

Honestly, I don’t know what I’m in for, but I’ve drunk the Kool-Aid and brought along my wheeled tote full of my shiny paperback books and my freebies (a.k.a giveaways, a.k.a “swag”). These two women have tucked me under their proverbial “we kill people for a living” authors’ wings and brought me along to more than one event. I still don’t know what I’m doing, but I’m more relaxed about it now.

We’re directed into a room lined with tables. Other authors have already arrived and have set up tablecloths, interactive laptops, six-foot freestanding posters, and stacks of books. Sue sets out two bowls of chocolates. I made a note of this cocoa bribery for the future.

For the next couple of hours, we tirelessly go through our spiels about our books. I’ve stood next to Sue for so long that I’m able to go through hers, too, when she needs to go to the little girls’ room (literally, because we are in the kids’ section in the library and the bathroom has a tiny toilet). About 140 people, including toddlers, amble through the the library meeting room.

I sell one book, just enough to treat myself to lunch later at what might be the fanciest Wendy’s I’ve ever encountered. It has a lounge area with a wall-mounted fireplace. As I munch a fry, I go over a few more pointers I’ve picked up.

For whatever reason, people are more willing to buy thinner books than thick ones, even if the thinner ones are more expensive. People have serious book fear. And unless you tap into a trove of bibliomanics, who will buy books whether they intend to read them or not…I will think about this next time I am picking out a font size.

Swag. Chocolate. Freebies and more freebies. 

It’s a good afternoon. I’ve gotten out of the house, out of my lounge pants and into real-world clothes. I’ve spoken with people. I’ve explained my stories and handed out swag. And now, I need a nap.

*Title and irony borrowed from Ben Folds Five

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