Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The Vegas Valley Book Festival

Saturday, November 2nd, 2013 marked the last day of events that were held throughout the month of October/November associated with The Vegas Valley Book Festival. It took place at the Historic 5th Street School in downtown Las Vegas, and you couldn't have asked for a more wonderful location or better weather. They did it up right, with interesting panels, music, and food choices.

http://www.horror.org/blog/Horror Writers Association sponsored a table and Mercedes Murdock Yardley and I worked it from 10am to 3:30pm. Many people came up interested in the association, which they'd never heard of, and walked away with a pamphlet explaining the organization. They also signed up with their name and email address to receive more information

It all started several months ago when I was asked by one of the committee members if I'd be interested in writing something for the annual anthology The Vegas Valley Book Festival puts out. The theme was "Progress" and it had to incorporate the element of Las Vegas. I did warn them that since I'm a horror writer first and foremost, my idea of "progress" might be different than others' perspectives. Of course, I said yes, and wrote a short story, "Reclamation" about water reclaiming the Earth, the last stand taking place atop one of America's biggest symbols for progress--The Hoover Dam.

Then I was asked if I'd like to sit in on a committee meeting, because the committee is interested in introducing more "genre" to future festivals. After attending the meeting, I thought, Yeah, they do need some genre, so then I decided to go ahead and be the horror liaison, to set up a horror panel, and invite horror authors to Vegas for the 2014 Vegas Valley Book Festival. Fortunately, so many horror authors cross genres, which makes them available to do other panels as well. I'm always happy to promote reading and the horror genre in the community.

Mid-October, there was a meet and mingle cocktail hour with local and national authors at City Hall, I was also invited to participate in. It was fun and I met a lot of people that are in well-established book clubs in Vegas. I learned that some actually have waiting lists for people interested in joining. It makes perfect
sense to me now, but I truly didn't realize the whole hierarchy and social importance of Vegas book clubs before.

The last week of October, there was a panel for the anthology authors and editor at the beautiful Clark County Library. We were told we'd be reading an excerpt from our work in the book, and I'm not a big "read in public" kind of person, but I thought I'd be able to swing it. Well, when I arrived and saw the large auditorium set up for it, I panicked. Ha! All the other authors were there waiting on me, and I was walking around taking pictures of the place, thinking I should've taken something to relax me, but the last time I did that and read, I slurred my words and vowed never to do it again. It all worked out, and I was told my reading went well. Afterward, the authors stayed for a while and signed books for the attendees.

The overall experience was fantastic and hopeful. One point I took away from it all is that Las Vegas needs more readers. I understand that in a city where world-class entertainment is on every corner it can be difficult to sit down with a book, but there's an enrichment that comes from reading and nothing else. It stirs the imagination and takes you places that aren't filled with crowds of people, loud slot machines, and smoke-filled casinos. I have friends who tell me they wish their kids would read more, but when the parents don't read, it's more likely the kids won't, either, and that's sad for everyone.

On the last bit about my cross-promotion with Carl Alves and the Goodread Giveaways. In the end, Carl's promotion started only 3 days after mine. I had something like 967 people request the book, Carl had around 776. I put one hundred dollars toward advertising on Goodreads. Was it worth it? No. But I did enjoy doing the giveaway and will definitely do it again in the future, without any money toward advertising. This was a fun cross-promotion Carl invited me to do with him and I'm glad we did it. Thank you, Carl. Hopefully, the winners of the giveaways will give us wonderful reviews and tell all their friends to go out and immediately buy our books.
---Now, back to reality.

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