The other day I met one of the organizers of the Easton Book Festival. Coming in October, this festival is something new. It took the efforts of a couple with vision—the owners of a small, independent bookstore—to get other people on board, but now it’s going to happen. A weekend dedicated to books. I found out about the Festival as I was looking up area bookstores that might let me do a presentation on Holy Horror. For whatever reason, my last book missed its projected autumnal publication date, and fall is when people are really thinking about horror movies. Approaching its birthday in late December, it never really had a proper launch. Priced the way it is, I don’t expect a sales boost, but I would like people to know about it. When you spend years writing a book you’d like it not to be completely obscure.
In any case, when looking up one of the Easton shops—hey, book lovers, the Lehigh Valley has lots of bookstores!—I noticed that the Festival was still seeking participants. Since it falls just before Halloween, the timing felt perfect. I signed up. Now this is one of the many new tricks for this old dog. I tell authors all the time that self-promotion is key to book sales, even when a press is fairly widely known. In fact, the store owner himself writes books and has to pay for his own tours to promote them. Book culture is worth promoting.
On a personal level, it does me good to see that there are others who appreciate books. They are a form of collective mind. A communion. When I’m feeling down, or uninspired, a trip to a bookstore—or even a library—often helps. Reading books leads to a sense of accomplishment. Every year I set a goal on Goodreads. I don’t set the goal to make me read—I’d do that anyway—but to share with others both what I’ve been reading and what I think about it. The Easton Book Festival will be a way of doing something similar, hopefully with those many others who feel the draw of books. Writing, for me, is a labor of love. I don’t know too many people personally, so meeting them through books is one of my own goals. Just the other day I met an academic who wanted to read Weathering the Psalms. Such things happen only in that wonderful land built of books.