“I just bought my first Christmas present,” a woman said to me as she left my booth at Old Town Bowie Fall festival yesterday after buying one of my books. Several other people indicated that their purchases had something to do with gift-giving.
And after several years of festivals, it’s nice to be at the stage of having fans — people who come back and buy the new book because they bought one of the others last year. One woman told of buying Well Considered at a previous festival. It went into her mother’s stack of books to read. When her mother eventually got to it, she was thrilled to have a signed copy in her stack and to recognize so many of the Maryland location settings in the book. Now she will receive a copy of Canoedling in Cleveland. Although this novel was written as a young adult novel, we’ve had a number of adults reading it and writing reviews . . . and remembering their youth in the 1960s.
Festival goers yesterday were delighted to find out that it also contains six stand-alone “canoe stories,” which the protagonist tells to his little brothers, so it really is a book for all ages, rather than just a young adult novel. They were able to see Audrey Engdahl’s illustration of what protagonist Jeff told his brothers about the huge vermi-lion worms roaring their heads off and chasing him on the Vermilion River. Speaking of which, in Old Bowie, I had a face-painted tiger, who had escaped from the children’s entertainment area, hissing at me.
Other visitors to my booth thought Cologne No. 10 for Men would be a good gift for a veteran father, husband, or friend. Back in the spring, we were speculating about why book sales had picked up so much — the economy had improved? Attraction to Audrey Engdahl’s book cover posters? Somewhat lower prices? A glowing book review of Cologne No. 10 for Men from David Willson of Vietnam Veterans Magazine? Now I think I can add two more reasons: I am developing a fan base, and people can identify my books as appealing to someone who will receive a gift from them!
If you need to do some gift shopping, all of my books can be found at Amazon and other online sites, on Kindle and other ebook sources, and at Busboys and Poets and Franklin’s General Store in Hyattsville, Maryland.
Pictures of Bowie Fall Festival, courtesy of John Ebersole, are at https://www.flickr.com/photos/johnebersole/sets/72157648141663822/.
(Contact John for photography at TitanBlue@hotmail.com)