Photo by Matias North on Unsplash


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My husband, and I arrived late. Exhibitor’s Row at the Louisiana Book Festival was already filled with people. Last year, the festival started at 9 am. The winds were strong; temperature set at freezing and scarcely a soul on the Row save the authors hoping to sell their books. I expected a similar experience and brought my camera to film idle authors talking about their books.

My table companion, Brigitte, had her half of the table decorated. A stack of Living in the Realm of Miracles and Angel Encounters sat next to a children’s book, Saint Cat and the Big Flood. Her adult book is like mine but focused on angels. Mine is slice of life stories about people who found a reason to believe in God.

I missed Rebecca and her daughter’s presentation about their book, Amy Signs. I set up my half of the table, gave some instructions to Rod, who sells my book better than I do, and introduced him to Brigitte.

“I’ll be back in an hour,” I said to Rod. “Alan Robertson of Duck Dynasty fame is schedule to speak about The Duck Commander Devotional in 15 minutes.”

I had been hearing about the popular Duck Dynasty show on A&E, and their faith in God for months. Alan was a Church of Christ pastor for 20 years but now worked with his famous family. He missed his ministry, but his family’s fame kept him busy speaking around the country. He spoke about his father’s struggle to build a business, and how they bootlegged their way into Walmart.

On the way back to my table, I spotted General Russel Honore standing behind a table on Exhibitors Row. He commanded the joint task force responsible for the restoration of order after Hurricane Katrina. Now retired from the military, he found time to write a book – Leadership in the New Normal. I also saw Raheem Allen, whom I had shared a table with at the New Orleans Book Festival. The industrious teenager already had a sequel to his first book.

Rod had sold a book in my absence. I warned him not to bankrupt us as he left again to browse books. Brigitte and I barely had time to talk when he returned to tell me Rebecca and her daughter were in the Barnes and Nobles tent signing Amy Signs. Rebecca wanted me to meet her daughter, who had come from Nebraska. Once again, I left my half of the table in my husband’s capable hands.

“Take a picture,” Rebecca said as soon as she saw me. I snapped a photo and waved at Amy, the extent of my conversation, since I don’t know sign language. Rebecca’s workshop had a good turn out and people were asking for her book.  She pointed to her entourage. “My son is over there.”

She wanted me to meet her son, so joined her entourage. I “Where is Rebecca’s son?” I asked Rebecca’s husband.

He pointed to an opening in the tent. “He stepped outside.”

I had already spent too much time away from my table, so I excused myself. Upon exiting the Barnes & Nobles’ tent, I spotted Elvis. Ok, he was an Elvis wanna be, but I could not resist taking a picture.

I sat down, and my husband left again for more book browsing. Josh, a friend from my church studying to be a sportscaster at Louisiana State University stopped to say hello with four friends in tow. Two of his friends, carrying better cameras than I had, were doing a school project. Josh suggested John interview me for his project. I was happy to oblige.

The wireless mic didn’t have a clip, so John used a bobby pin. He might have had a better camera, but I had a better wireless mic. I talked about my book and why I was at the festival, then reached for the mic to unclip it from my shirt. The mic was laying in my lap. “Did you get that?” I queried.  

John grinned, “I got it.”

The student camera crew left, and my husband returned. We noticed how many people had brought their dogs and regretted leaving our wiener dog home alone.

“Look behind you,” he said. A woman held the leash of a beautiful black and white Great Dane. “You missed the guy with the Afghan when you went to see Rebecca.”

A dog stuck his nose out from under an author’s table to yap his displeasure at a passing dog.

“Is that a Husky?” I asked the owner.

“She is a cross between a Husky and German Shepherd,” the woman replied.  

A ball rolled in front of our table, followed by a dog trailing his leash. The owner caught his escapee in front of our table. He pointed at Brigitte’s angel book. “They are not really angels,” he said. “They are beings from an alternate universe. Sometimes they come to our universe and help us.”

I smiled and tried to sell him my book, to no avail.

Another woman stopped abruptly when she spotted our sign about inspirational books. She bought my book, and was pleased to get a free digital copy, which I was giving away because I had had little luck selling the digital download cards provided by my publisher. She also bought Brigitte’s book. Our conversation revealed what I suspected. She loved God, her church, and her pastor. She is my niche market.

“Does you church have a women’s ministry? I also speak.”

“Yes, we do. In fact, we have a women’s retreat coming up.” I gave her my contact information and her Pastor a complimentary book.

I can tell the readers from the writers. Readers look at the summary of the book on the back cover. The writers open the book to see who published it. The next customer looked for the publisher. She had a book, sort of; it was an audio book. “What did it feel like to be published?” she asked.

I was stumped for a moment. Unlike some of my author friends, it had never been my dream to be published. And I wasn’t trying to get published when I ended up published a second time. We had a lengthy conversation about publishing. I explained the changes in the industry and told her about different forms of publishing. She was appreciative for the knowledge I had shared with her. She paid me for my time by buying my book.

By the end of the day, I had sold one more book than I did last year, and my camera never saw the light of day. I knew selling a book would not be easy. But those who despise small beginnings will never have a big ending.


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