by Paula Lozar
Our booth at the Tucson Festival of Books was a success: We sold close to $1,000 worth of books. As usual, some authors did very well, some moderately well, but many sold only one book or none at all. There’s no way to predict which books will sell, but the NMBA representatives in the booth did our best to promote everyone’s books. As always, the authors who were present in the booth tended to have better sales because purchasers enjoy the personal touch.
It’s hard to describe how big the festival is unless you’ve been there, but there were 180 exhibitor booths, 270 authors scheduled to speak (plus 160 self-published authors in the Indie Authors pavilion), dozens of book-signing booths for authors, 15 food vendors, and an extensive Science City with exhibits ranging from solar telescopes to cockroaches. The exhibitors included publishers large and small, libraries, nonprofit organizations of all kinds (history, archeology, mental and physical health, and even a model train museum), and regional writers’ groups. We noted that NMBA seemed to be unique as a state-wide authors’ and publishers’ association, and our selection of books was wider ranging than most.
Left: Rebecca Skeele with a conference attendee. Right: Paula Lozar and Jonathan Miller.
Photos: © Rebecca Skeele. Used by permission.
Attendance at the Book Festival has reached 135,000 in past years. I haven’t seen the totals for this year yet, although the crowds looked substantial. In 2020, the show was canceled (literally at the last minute) because of the pandemic, and there was a smaller virtual event in 2021, so both exhibitors and attendees seemed delighted to get together in person again. We had a good location near the Children’s Area, so there was a lot of foot traffic past our booth. And the weather was perfect – around 70 degrees, clear, and sunny both days.
We are crunching the numbers. Authors who sold books will receive an e-mail to clarify payment methods, and then payment will happen within a week or so. Note that, if your book sold, you’ll get the full price that it sold for. NMBA covers credit card processing fees and AZ sales taxes, although you’re responsible for paying your own state and Federal taxes on your earnings. NMBA doesn’t take a cut of the sales price; the cost of the booth and other expenditures are covered by participant fees.
Many thanks to Martha Egan, Jonathan Miller, and Rebecca Skeele, who helped in the booth for all or most of the weekend. Riyon Harding supplied us with welcome bottled water and diet sodas. A special shout-out to Jared Gann, who helped me drive my 4-Runner full of books to Tucson and back, as well as assisting in the booth all weekend too. It was hard work, but I feel the results were worth it, and we should definitely sign up for the show for next year. (A note to indie authors: There are opportunities for you to give readings and book-signings, but you need to sign up early; if you’re interested in being a part of next year’s Tucson Festival of Books, check out their website at tucsonfestivalofbooks.org.)
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