October 2, 2012
Over the weekend, I was an attendee and presenter at the Baltimore Book Festival in (of course) Baltimore, Maryland.
My participation was through the Maryland Romance Writers, who run a stage through the whole weekend. There are author panels every hour, an onsite bookseller (Ukazoo Books) for the presenters’ titles, and lots of giveaways. Laura Kaye, the main organizer, and every member of MRW who helped out, did a fantastic job. The BBF overall seemed very well run, too, and the hospitality building was fantastic—a gorgeous historical mansion with food and beverages, a sitting area, and a private bathroom. 🙂
At one point, going into the hospitality building, I came face to face with Teresa Giudice coming out (former member of “Real Housewives of New Jersey—she was promoting a cookbook at the BBF). She looked at me expectantly, as if waiting for my OMG moment. Or maybe that was my cynical imagination. 🙂
It was great meeting so many authors, many of whom I’ve known online for a long time, and a few readers, as well. I sold a couple of books and the panels seemed to go okay. I expected bigger crowds. The promo materials say 55,000+ people attend the BBF. But it’s spread out over a decent area, so it didn’t feel crowded at all. The hundreds of vendors and authors probably diluted the interest a little, too. Free stuff wasn’t grabbed, and we had to really push people to sign up for giveaways. But the readers I talked to were very enthusiastic and there was a lot of come and go during all the panels. So it seemed a big success overall.
Until the end. I knew better, but I had to hit the restroom before my hour-and-a-half drive home. After two hours of sprinkling, the downpour hit RIGHT as I was heading to my car. Four and a half blocks is nothing unless you’re being drenched in cold rain. *sigh* But at least it held off until the end!
Have you ever attended a book festival like this? What was it like?