Rod, my husband, and I arrived late. Exhibitor’s Row at the Louisiana Book Festival was already filled with people. Last year, the festival started at 9 am. The winds were strong; temperature set at freezing and scarcely a soul on the Row save the authors hoping to sell their books. I was anticipating a similar experience and brought my camera to film idle authors talking about their books.
My table companion, Brigitte Murchison, had her half of the table decorated. A stack of Living in the Realm of Miracles and Angel Encounters sat next to a children’s book, Saint Cat and the Big Flood. Her adult book is similar to mine but focuses on miracles and angels. Finding Faith in the City Care Forgot is filled with slice of life stories about people who found a reason to believe in God.
I missed Rebecca Gernon and Amy William’s presentation about their book, Amy Signs. I set up my half of the table, gave some instructions to Rod, who sells my book better than I do, and introduced him to Brigitte. “I’ll be back in an hour,” I said to Rod. “Alan Robertson of Duck Dynasty fame is schedule to speak about The Duck Commander Devotional in 15 minutes.”
I had been hearing about the popular Duck Dynasty show on A&E, and their faith in God for months. I didn’t know they were from Louisiana. Alan was a Church of Christ pastor for 20 years but now works with his famous family. He misses his ministry, but his family’s fame keeps him busy speaking around the country. He spoke about his father’s struggle to build a business, and how they bootlegged their way into Walmart.
On the way back to my table, I spotted General Russel Honore standing behind a table on Exhibitors Row. He commanded the joint task force responsible for the restoration of order after Hurricane Katrina. Now retired from the military, he recorded found time to write a book – Leadership in the New Normal. I also saw Raheem Allen, whom I had shared a table with at a New Orleans Book Festival. Raheem wrote his first book at age 14; I Am Rick: Zanes Destruction. He was selling the sequel; I Am Rick: The Crystal of Life. I planned to return with my camera.
Rod had sold a book in my absence. An avid reader, he left again to browse books. Brigitte and I barely had time to talk when he returned and announced, “Rebecca and her daughter are in the Barnes and Nobles tent signing Amy Signs.” Rebecca wanted me to meet her daughter, who had come from Nebraska. Once again, I left my half of the table in my husband’s capable hands.
“Take a picture,” Rebecca said as soon as she saw me. I snapped a photo and waved at Amy, the extent of my conversation, since I don’t know sign language. Rebecca’s workshop had a good turn out and people were asking for her book. She pointed to her entourage. My son is over there. I joined the group and met Charmaine’s son. Rebecca and Charmaine both have children who are physically challenged. I had made Charmaine acquaintance at the Free Book Festival I attended last month.
“Where is Rebecca’s son?” I asked Walt, Rebecca’s husband.
He pointed to an opening in the tent. “He stepped outside.” I had already spent too much time away from my table, so I excused myself. Upon exiting the Barnes & Nobles’ tent, I spotted Elvis. Ok, he was an Elvis wanna be, but I could not resist taking a picture.
I sat down, and my husband departed again for more book browsing. Josh, a friend from my church studying to be a sportscaster at Louisiana State University stopped to say hello with four friends in tow. Two of his friends, carrying better cameras than I have, were doing a school project. Josh suggested they interview me for their project. I was happy to oblige. The wireless mic didn’t have a clip, so John, an industrious student had borrowed a bobby pin. He might have had a better camera, but I had a better wireless mic. I talked about my book and why I was at the festival for five minutes, then reached for the mic to unclip it from my shirt. The mic was laying in my lap. “Did you get that?” I queried.
John grinned, “I got it.”
The student camera crew departed, and my husband returned. We noticed how many people had brought their dogs and regretted leaving our wiener dog home alone. “Look behind you,” he said. A woman was holding the leash of a beautiful black and white Great Dane. “You missed the guy with the Afghan when you went to see Rebecca,” said Rod.
A dog stuck his nose out from under an author’s table to yap his displeasure at a passing dog. “Is that a Husky?” I asked the owner. “She is a cross between a Husky and German Shepherd,” the woman replied.
A ball rolled in front of our table, followed by a dog trailing his leash. The owner caught his escapee in front of our table. He pointed at Brigitte’s angel book. “There are a lot of religious books here,” he said. I wasn’t surprised by that statement. There were a lot of religious books on Exhibitors Row the previous year when I was filming authors for the faith blog. “They are not really angels,” he said. “They are beings from an alternate universe. Sometimes they come to our universe and help us.” I smiled and tried to sell him my book to no avail.
Another woman stopped abruptly when she spotted our sign about inspirational books. She purchased my book, and was pleased to get a free digital copy, which I was giving away because I had not had much luck selling the digital download cards. She also purchased Brigitte’s book. Our conversation revealed what I suspected. She loved God, her church, and her pastor. She is my niche market. I sell more books at Christian events than any place else. But getting into a Christian venue can be a challenge. “Does you church have a women’s ministry? I also speak.”
“Yes, we do, in fact, we have a women’s retreat coming up.” I gave her Pastor a complimentary book.
I can tell the readers from the writers. The readers look at the summary of the book. The writers open the book to see who published it. The next customer looked for the publisher. She had a book, sort of; it was an audio book. “What did it feel like to be published?” she asked.
I was stumped for a moment. Unlike some of my author friends, it had never been my dream to be published. I wasn’t trying to get published when I ended up published a second time. We had a long conversation about publishing. I explained the changes in the industry and told her about different forms of publishing. She was appreciative for the knowledge I had shared with her. She paid me for my time by buying my book.
By the end of the day, I had sold one more book than I did last year, and my camera never saw the light of day. I knew selling a book would not be easy. At the last event, I sold one book to a priest. If I despise small beginnings, I will never have a big ending. As long as my husband can afford it, I will continue to sell books where ever I can.