Most authors are successful when they are talking face to face with potential buyers. The reason is because they sense the author’s enthusiasm and passion about the book or the subject. One of the best ways to get in front of hundreds or thousands of people is to go where book lovers flock… and that’s a book festival.
A book festival is a terrific way to talk to book buyers and reviewers face to face. I personally know authors who plan their summer vacation around book fairs and festivals across the USA. They like to interact with fellow authors, possibly meet publishers, meet current readers and find new ones too. Some are so good at it they make a living just from festivals. You know who else goes to book festivals? Copy editors, proofreaders, book publicists, members of the media, bookstore buyers, university department heads, people who need speakers for a group, and book reviewers. A single conversation with one person could turn into a large purchase and major exposure.
Some book fairs want speakers. By all means volunteer to speak! Authors gain exposure at the event but their appearance is also listed on the festival website, some events will promote their speaker list on social media as well. The exposure from one panel appearance could pay dividends for years. But you have to reach out to the organizers.
As a book publicist, I’ve promoted an author’s appearance on a panel in the media and that led to an interview with a publication. Why? Because the reporter was planning to go to the festival and now had an author who was selected by the event as noteworthy. The author added that appearance to their resume and we added it to future press releases.
Plan ahead. If you want to land a speaking gig or panel appearance then start now! All of these opportunities for speakers and autograph sessions are usually arranged months in advance.
I’ve curated a list with dozens of book fairs and festivals for the coming year. Check it out at: