14 Florida/Georgia Conferences and Book Festivals

Florida/Georgia Conferences & Book Festivals

 

Amelia Island Book Festival

Hosted by: Amelia Island Book Festival

Website: Amelia Island Book Festival

Description:

The Festival is a community endeavor. More than 200 volunteers come together to bring this gift to people of all ages. Attendees come from far and wide not only to enjoy the festival, but also to explore this  beautiful island, located just north of Jacksonville, Florida, and a bridge span away from the mainland. Along with first-class restaurants, resorts and inns, visitors will find 13 miles of unspoiled, golden beaches, scenic marshes and rivers, historic sites, nature trails, fishing, golf and kayaking, art and of course—books galore!

 

National Book Club Conference

Hosted by: National Book Club Conference Foundation

Website: National Book Club Conference

Description:

Over the course of 15 years, some of the most famous and talented authors have been a part of what the NBCC calls “literary bliss”. Important to the NBCC, however, is to introduce new or lesser-known authors that have created stories that are entertaining, informative and important.

 

AJC Decatur Book Festival

Hosted by: AJC Decatur Book Festival

Website: AJC Decatur Book Festival

Description:

The AJC Decatur Book Festival is the largest independent book festival in the country and one of the five largest overall. Since its launch, more than 1,000 world-class authors and hundreds of thousands of festival-goers have crowded the historic downtown Decatur square.

 

Tampa Bay Times Festival of Reading

Hosted by: Tampa Bay Times Festival of Reading

Website: Tampa Bay Times Festival of Reading

Description:

Book. Music. Authors. Food.

 

Miami Book Fair International

Hosted by: Miami Dade College

Website: Miami Book Fair International

Description:

The first Miami Book Fair International, founded by Miami Dade College and community partners, took place in 1984. Since then, it has been recognized as the nation’s finest literary festival. In 2001, the Fair became part of The Center for Writing and Literature @ Miami Dade College, a cultural and academic initiative that promotes the advancement and appreciation of literature throughout the year.

 

FAPA Annual Conference

Hosted by: Florida Authors & Publishers Association

Website: FAPA Annual Conference

Description:

This networking and educational event will offer two days of sessions with a focus on The Business of Publishing.  Industry leaders share their expertise and a variety of tools needed to flourish in this evolving publishing environment.  Join your industry colleagues and discover innovative marketing ideas and sales strategies.

 

F.R.E.S.H. Book Festival

Hosted by: Donna M. Gray-Banks

Website: F.R.E.S.H. Book Festival

Description:

Fiction, Romance, Erotica, Spirituality, Health and more!

 

Tampa Bay Black Heritage Festival

Hosted by: Tampa Bay Black Heritage Festival, Inc.

Website: Tampa Bay Black Heritage Festival

Description:

The Tampa Bay Black Heritage Festival is an annual, cultural arts & music festival that takes place over the course of 10 days in Tampa Bay, Florida. They host an Author Village. Check out AALBC.com’s coverage of the Author Village in 2017

 

Southwest Florida Reading Festival

Hosted by: Southwest Florida Reading Festival

Website: Southwest Florida Reading Festival

Description:

There really is something for all ages to experience at the Southwest Florida Reading Festival. Everyone enjoys the multiple stages with the celebrity authors who share ‘inside scoop’ about their latest books or what makes a story idea click for them. You will be able to buy books and have the authors personalize and sign them too! You’ll find our numerous book and educational vendors offering the latest in services and new ideas. Kids will be mesmerized by the storytellers.

 

Dahlonega Literary Festival

Hosted by: Lumpkin County Literacy Coalition

Website: Dahlonega Literary Festival

Description:

The Dahlonega Literary Festival is an annual celebration of books that takes place in March. Situated in Historic Downtown Dahlonega, the festival continues to grow and become more delightful as the years go on. Ours is an intimate festival about books and authors with a mission to promote interaction between readers and writers in a relaxed, informal environment. Visitors have an opportunity to meet and interact with the authors. In addition to attending speaking events and book signings, attendees can have lunch with their favorite authors at a local restaurant.

 

The Punta Gorda Literary Fair

Hosted by: Copperfish Books and Florida Gulf Coast University

Website: The Punta Gorda Literary Fair

Description:

Literary events take place Monday through Friday, culminating in the big one—Saturday’s street fair featuring artists, musicians, food, and lots of authors and books from 10 a. to 3 p.m. Authors will line the Herald Court Breezeway and adjacent streets. From a children’s garden of fun and games to musicians and art, lively workshops, and readings, the book fair offers fun and information for all ages.

 

Venice Book Fair and Writers Festival

Hosted by: Pam Johnson

Website: Venice Book Fair and Writers Festival

Description:

The Venice Book Fair and Writers Festival is a small, unique program hosting writers teaching writers on Friday night, and authors selling and signing their books to the public on Saturday. All proceeds from the Venice Book Fair and Writers Festival go to Venice Heritage Inc., the 501(c) 3 fundraising arm of two historic sites in Venice, the Lord-Higel House, currently under restoration, and the Venice Museum and Archives expansion project.

 

AWP Conference

Hosted by: AWP Conference

Website: AWP Conference

Description:

The AWP Conference & Bookfair is an essential annual destination for writers, teachers, students, editors, and publishers. Each year more than 12,000 attendees join our community for four days of insightful dialogue, networking, and unrivaled access to the organizations and opinion-makers that matter most in contemporary literature. The 2016 conference featured over 2,000 presenters and 550 readings, panels, and craft lectures. The book fair hosted over 800 presses, journals, and literary organizations from around the world. AWP is now the largest literary conference in North America.

 

Oxford Exchange Book Fair

Hosted by: OE Book Fair

Website: OE Book Fair

Description:

“It is our mission at Oxford Exchange to continually foster human engagement, spark meaningful dialogue and establish Tampa’s place as a cultural destination. We launched the OE Book Fair in 2015 to provide an open platform for local authors to connect with their community face to face. A broad array of genres and interests are represented, complimented by discussions and workshops throughout the day of the fair. We hope you’ll join us the discovery of local literary talent!”

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BookExpo Publishing Shift

BookExpo was once a group of traditional publishers with a sprinkling of indies. As an expo attendee from 2008–2017, my observation of traditional publishing is stagnant content published with a 1950s business model. A new world of publishing has evolved due to the contagious enthusiasm of indie business models.

Indie publishers not only bring new and original content, but publish it well. This has created a shift within hybrid to self-publishing businesses, offering authors once unattainable reviews, awards, and national marketing opportunities.

In 2017 BookExpo changed their name and limited indie inclusion. The expo suffered in size and attendance. Ingram Content Group is now one of the largest BookExpo exhibitors, offering workshops at BookExpo like “How To DIY Publish.” Robin Cutler, an upcoming FAPA Annual Conference speaker, participates in Ingram’s growth and is a resource in FAPA’s vision for members’ success.

—Mark Wayne Adams, SYP Kids Creative Director & FAPA Past President

5 Marketing Tips During Book Production

5 Marketing Tips During Book Production

Don’t wait for a physical book to begin marketing. Authors can complete these five things while books are in production.

Facebook Author Page:  Create an author Facebook page that includes a “Shop” feature to capture book sales.

Create Contact Lists:  Create a contact list of schools, libraries, bookstores, gift shops, reviewers, and customers for the upcoming book. Export this list into MailChimp, Constant Contact, or a contact database. Publishers have their mail lists. Authors should have a mail list too.

Create Template Emails: Create a short two paragraph “introduction template” email introducing the author, book, and purpose for book event. Create a “pricing template” email regarding speaker fees. Create a “book reviewer template” email to submit books to reviewers. Create a “author bio” email that includes: author bio, book titles, book covers, and author photo.

Calendar:  Reserve dates of availability for book marketing events. Choose weekends, holidays, or evenings to attend bookstore signings, school events, book festivals, etc. Once the calendar is in place, start booking dates!

Create Blog Posts:  Schedule blog posts about “Beyond the Book” resources: photos, research, interviews, and other content from the book. Schedule blog posts that link to the author’s Facebook page. Release posts every few days over six months to engage new and existing readers. Link all mentions of the book to the Publisher’s website. When the book is available for preorder update the link.

If this article helped, Like and Share this article.

Mark Wayne Adams Books & Illustrations

Cashing in on Author Facebook Pages

Cashing in on Author Facebook Pages

“Does Facebook sell books?” No. Authors sell books being social. Social authors with products available to consumers sell books and much more through Facebook. Here are tips to setup a profitable Author Facebook Page.

  • Page Banner:  Create a Facebook banner displaying books in a creative setting.
  • Profile Photo:  Use an eye-catching author image. The best images are author photo, book cover, or logo.
  • Link Social Media:  Link Twitter, Instagram, and other social media accounts to the Facebook Page. This reduces posting time and allows tagging images.
  • Facebook Shop:  Create a Facebook Shop on author pages, linking to the author’s PayPal account. Note: Check PayPal every other day. Currently, there is no alert when an item sells.
  • Tag Products/People:  tag people, tag pages, locations, organizations,  and tag products in posts. Mobile devices limit the amount of tagging. Advanced features like product tagging are available online by “editing posts.” Once a Facebook Shop is created authors can tag previously posted images on their page.
  • Post Content:  “Book Titles!” in quotes and punctuated properly. Authors are writers and must keep posts as professional as possible.

Not all images appear correctly on multiple platforms. Test everything created on multiple devices: phones, tablets, and computers. Visit Mark Wayne Adams Books & Illustrations Facebook Page for a author page example. If this article helped, Like my Facebook Page and Share this article with fellow authors.

“How did you become Readers’ Favorite Illustration Awards Judge?”—Anna Faktorovich, PhD Interview

Faktorovich: You also served as a Readers’ Favorite Illustration Awards judge. How did you win this job? Did somebody else nominate you or did you nominate yourself? You won several awards from this group, so did they automatically nominate you to judge when you hit a certain number of award wins? Beyond what appears on the official rules for contests, what practically makes a difference between illustrations that win an award and those that don’t? Is there an obvious difference between the winners and losers? And if so, what are the most common mistakes made by the losers?

IMG_0638Adams: I met the Readers’ Favorite founder, Debra Gaynor, several times in Miami, Atlanta, Nashville and Frankfort. She solicited me like every author who had a quality book that would grow the now international Reader’s Favorite Awards and Review program. Jilli, That’s Silly! written by Christa Carpenter, received a gold medal and I planned to attend the ceremony in Miami. Debra also invited me to present on the Value of Illustration during the Readers’ Favorite two night annual awards ceremony. While at breakfast, I sketched in my current Best Sketchbook. James Ventrillo, current CEO of Readers’ Favorite, introduced himself and began an impromptu interview for the Reader’s Favorite Illustration Awards judge position.

IMG_0523The awards won through their organization did not automatically make me judge. Professional experience earned the position. Several hundred books in various genres are submitted each year. Judging occurs throughout the year based on: character development, storytelling, cover design, layout, etc. Once a book is scored, the score is final. Until the scoring is complete, who the winner is remains a surprise for them and me.

We’ve all seen books that are obvious winners and losers. I judge on the criteria specifically. Common mistakes made are strong illustrations and a weak graphic design. Cover design is 10 points. If the cover design scores low, great illustrations may not win. Another common mistake is inexperience. The art must relay the story to a non-reader.

My biggest reward in participating as the Readers’ Favorite Illustration Awards Judge is hearing a winner say, “I didn’t think I was that good,” or “There are more talented artists than me.” Receiving feedback from your peers is important!

 

Read the complete interview with Mark Adams, Award-Winning IllustratorAdams-Author Bio Photo-mwa.company-template with Anna Faktorovich, PhD

“Do you think awards and reviews are key to sales of new releases?”—Anna Faktorovich, PhD Interview

Faktorovich: You boast on your website that over 5 years the authors you’ve published with MWA, Inc. have won over 50 major awards. To how many awards do you submit each of your releases to? How expensive is it to do a mass submission to so many awards for several books? Do you or your authors fund these submissions? Do you see a positive return in terms of sales after a book ends up winning awards? Do you think awards, reviews, or some other components are key to the sales of a new release in the illustrated children’s book category?

Christa Carpenter receives the Evelyn Thurman Young Readers Award.
Christa Carpenter receives the Evelyn Thurman Young Readers Award.

AdamsAwards—we all want them, but why? Most authors rely on publishers to submit for book awards. The publisher works within a fixed budget and may only enter a few awards competitions. What authors and illustrators may not realize is they can submit for book awards. Some awards offer monetary compensation, while all offer either local, regional, or national exposure. What value is an award? Awards offer something different for each person. Authors may use awards to validate their profession to consumers, peers, or family. Readers may see awards as a quality review from book professionals. Publishers may see the award as a reason to contract for future books. No matter what the reason, be confident that your book is of professional quality before submitting. Be open to the fact that not all submissions win. Being a finalist is as important as receiving a medal. For my fifty published books, only eleven have won awards. I use critiques from judges to enhance the next book or second edition printing of the current book. Not every book is a winner, so why not learn from each.

Read the complete interview with Mark Adams, Award-Winning IllustratorAdams-Author Bio Photo-mwa.company-template with Anna Faktorovich, PhD

3 Ways to Discover Indie Bookstores

Whether planning a book tour or book launch, locating indie bookstores is critical. Before packing your travel bag, map out the best bookstores based on your book genre, readership, and location. Here are 3 ways to determine which indie bookstore is appropriate for you.

#1: New Pages Guide to Bookstores in the U.S. and Canada is by far the most comprehensive listing of bookstores. NewPages.com offers valuable resources for indie authors and publishers wanting current information about literary guides, indie bookstores, writing contests, and more.

#2: Fellow authors and publishers are another resource for bookstores in your area. Ask not only for the bookstore name, but also for: past book signing experiences; special consignment requirements; previous sales; top-selling books; and for a manager or store owner’s contact information. PJ Boox and Bookmark It are two of my favorite local stores.

#3: When traveling be mindful to ask for directions to the nearest bookstore. Tourist destinations, historical landmarks, and gift shops often carry a selection of books. Ask not only for a contact name but their top-selling books, genre, and reason. Lula’s by the Sea, SunDog Books, and Downtown Books & Purl are examples of bookstores located in tourist locations.

When the relationship starts, ask if you can contact the store with you new products, events, or newsletter. Cultivating relationships with locally-owned and national indie bookstores boosts both authors’ and bookstores’ success.

Best Book Event Travel Bag

As an author and illustrator constantly on the move, I’m asked, “What’s the best book event travel bag?” The best event bag evolves from situations at events: “Did you have a safety-pin? Do you have a poncho? Do you have a Band-Aid?”

Below is a list of my longest lasting, preferred, and regularly used supplies for events. A good book event pack has everything necessary for events or airport travel. The big stuff: tents, tent weights, table, etc., are not a part of this list.

Ciao Rolling Carry On BagCiao Rolling Carry On Bag:  Rolling bags with retractable handles reduce heavy lifting. This bag carries up to 10 hardbound books either vertical or horizontal format. Deep pockets are found on left and right sides, front panel includes 3 exterior pockets and 2 interior pockets. It has enough storage space, to become a heavy hauler. Add a custom luggage tag with a book cover image to market your book while traveling. AGP Carabiner clip(s) are excellent additions to hold keys, or secure the bag while traveling. Use carabiner clips as makeshift chains too.

Best Sketchbook-3D-bookPaper/Writing Utensils: I generally carry a 6 x 9 inch Best Sketchbook. It is not only for drawing and writing inspiration, but also to track potential event and client contact information. Small notepads, post-its, and loose notebook paper are used for short-term purposes: signs, tracking inventory, spelling of customer names, and newsletter sign-up sheets. Pack a variety of sharpies, ink pens, or even a stylus to write on any surface from paper or clothing to digital devices.

Tripar Small Adjustable EaselTripar Small Adjustable Easels: These lightweight clear easels fold flat and look professional on any surface.

8-ft Tablecloth: Choose a lightweight or sheer fabric tablecloth that folds into a gallon Ziploc® bag. Press the air from the bag before closing to minimize storage space. A disposable plastic tablecloth is handy for outdoor events not only to cover tables, but also to protect books from water.

Marketing Materials: Business cards, bookmarks, price sheet, order forms, and shipping labels can all be stored neatly in an accordion plastic file folder for easy access. Using a waterproof filing system looks professional, minimizes search time, and protects documents from water damage.

Swiss Army KnifeCutting & Binding Supplies: Metal scissors, box cutter, or pocket knife are helpful, but not allowed on airlines or in some public buildings. Carry all sharps (scissors, pins, including zip ties) in a hard plastic pencil box. The container stores items neatly and can be removed easily. Duct tape, clear shipping tape, zip ties (various sizes), safety pins, and lightweight rope are handy for hanging banners, packaging supplies, and securing items.

Credit Card Processing: SquareUp credit card reader is still my favorite. I carry my reader in a neoprene case outside my bag for quick access. The SquareUp app syncs across digital devices and can be used by multiple users.

First Aid/Personal Products: Travel size first aid kit, Band-Aids, hand sanitizer, pain relievers, lip balm, deodorant, tissues/wipes, sunscreen, and snacks are life savers! Use a small grooming kit to store items neatly for quick removal and discrete needs.

Portable USB ChargerWeather Proofing: Plastic Ziploc® bags (various sizes), trash bags (various sizes), hooded poncho, hand-held fan, portable USB charger/flashlight, phone charger, and cable come in handy when traveling in the rain or long distances.

Yes, the Ciao Rolling Carry On Bag will carry this and more. With a decade of experience and four retired travel bags, I can say my event bag is “a speaker’s first aid kit.” Not all contents are used at events; however, they keep you out of a bind!

RADIO INTERVIEWS: Global Book Marketing

I met Danielle Hampson, Founder of The Authors Show, at the Readers’ Favorite Book Awards in Miami, Florida. The Authors Show is a professional book marketing audio and video program offering authors interviewed a unique marketing outlet for their work.

Three benefits I found from the show include:

  • A professionally edited audio and/or video interview showcasing the author and his/her book(s);
  • Interviewed authors are included in The Author Show’s extensive weekly social media outreach;
  • Interviews are shared with a network of readers through broadcasts on The Author Show’s network of thousands of potential book buyers;
  • Radio interviews of the original broadcast and the above benefits are created at no cost to the author.

OUTBACK 3D-book-72DPI-RGBLinda Thompson, Show Host, was professional and created a polished interview featuring my new book, OUTBACK: Bothers & Sinisters. The book series has an Australian theme and The Authors Show’s international broadcast helped me reach thousands of potential international readers, book buyers, and Australians I otherwise would not reach.

The Authors Show also provides these optional benefits for a fee:

  • Professionally produced interview podcast MP3 copy for posting on author’s website and/or preferred social media platforms
  • Periodic rebroadcast of interview podcasts
  • Publicity outreach to journalists, search engines, social media;
  • And much more.

OUTBACK-Bothers & Sinisters-www.mwa.companyI highly recommend The Authors Show and Linda Thompson, Show Host, to authors wanting international exposure through radio broadcasts.

Listen to OUTBACK: Bothers & Sinisters Radio Interview

Write Back! Fan Mail is Good Business.

I usually don’t respond to student telephone calls, texts, or Facebook posts. As a parent myself, I feel kids communicating with adults should happen with parent supervision. So, I avoided numerous calls from Isabella, until I received a letter from her parents.

She was working on a library book report about her favorite author. After purchasing King for a Day, the Story of Stories during the Kentucky Book Fair in Frankfort, Kentucky, she’d chosen me for her report.

“My librarian says authors are better than movie stars, because they write the story.” Isabella said in her letter.

Being a fan of librarians, I replied “I think librarians are better than movie stars, because they choose the books that fill the library.” Isabella shared the letter with her class and school librarian. Within a week, I’d been asked to visit two schools in her district.

As an author and illustrator, answer fan mail—schools are a niche market.