Sunday, September 10, 2017

A Book Fair Is A FAIR

Selling apple crumble.
This morning I spent four hours at a local fair working at our church's food booth. Since today is Sunday, it was like religious observance, but different.

Evidently the church does well selling apple crumble at this event and even expected to sell out before the end of the day. Nonetheless, our shift started at nine in the morning, and there were long periods when we discussed favorite bike trails and current events. All three of us took turns going to the pig race. We saw a lot of bored looking vendors. The pierogi people across from us, for instance, didn't break a sweat all the time we were there.

People walking by.
After about three hours, I suddenly started recalling other fairs I've been to. We're not talking PTSD here. Like the pierogi people, I wasn't sweating. No heart palpitations. But I did experience a flashback to fairs and festivals where I'd been selling something, but not food. I was selling books. Mine.

Selling books.
When authors are at fairs and festivals, they've got a spot with their books, just like the vendors at traditional fairs. There can be a lot of them there. They're just sittin', by themselves, watching people walk by. Killing time. You've got your people like Tomie dePaolo who are the blooming onions of the book fair world. The rest of us are apple crumbles and pierogies.

My apple crumble buddies were great at selling the crumble, while I just handled the money. They engaged people passing by. They touted the apple crumble's good qualities. ("Home made!") We had this terrific guy with us who at one point said to someone going by, "Good stuff! I just had some!" I imagined him with me at a literary event calling out, "Good book! I just read it!"

It was around that point that I thought, Eww. This is just like selling books. I don't do this well. The realization took the joy out of the incredibly beautiful autumn fair day, let me tell you.

At least I knew my professional future wasn't dependent upon apple crumble sales. That was a relief. It was more like my immortal soul was at risk, because, as I may have mentioned earlier, I was working at a church booth.

C'etait bon.
I also knew that at the end of my shift I was going over to the French Social Club's booth for some poutine, which has never, ever been available at any book fair/festival I've worked. That would make the book selling ordeal so much more tolerable.

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