It's March and that means it's time for the UWM Spring Writers Festival. Kao Kalia Yang (The Latehomecomer) spoke last night, today it's David Rhodes (Driftless), and tomorrow's keynote is Jane Hamilton (Laura Rider's Masterpiece). In addition, there are about 20 workshops and panels with books involved. Getting all their books in, plus a table of writing, publishing, marketing, and creativity books, and we've got a LOT of books to sell.
Last night Stacie and I juggled the festival and Rodney Crowell's concert (for Chinaberry Sidewalks) at the Turner Hall Ballroom. Today Amie sells Austen and Vermeer books (and stuff too) at the Jane Austen Tea at the Milwaukee Public Library. I'm hoping there is some enthusiasm for our Austen plush, notecards, action figure, journals, birthday book, and jigsaw puzzle. And yes, there are Vermeer notecards too. No puzzle though, sigh. That event is sold out. Good job, Friends!
Lots of folks ask about all these offsites we do, especially if they see me in several contexts in a short period of time. I think they are vital for the business. We connect with new customers, make relationships that could lead to new events, and give us enough business to make our numbers. I also think that it's a component of our commitment to the community. Now that's not to say we'll do every offsite offered (just like we won't take every local author's book--we have to feel like there's a chance of selling it) but we sure do a lot of them. (We rarely do one without a featured speaker, but how can you say no to the Friends of the Milwaukee Public Library?)
On Monday (3/7), I'll be doing a book fair at St. John's on the Lake. In the evening, Jason will be at the Urban Ecology Center for Richard Crossley and The Crossley ID Guide for Eastern Birds. And so it goes.