Friday, September 21, 2012

Kansas Book Festival 2012 - 4RV style

by Vivian Zabel  

The grounds of the Kansas Historical Museum set up for the book festival

          The minivan loaded with books and supplies headed north from Edmond, Oklahoma, its nose slightly airborne due to all the weight. The rain washed the vehicle clean all the way to Topeka by way of Emporia.

          Friday about noon, Melanie Robertson-King and Carla Ralston joined Jacque Graham and me at the Best Western Hotel. After we greeted and hugged each other, we moved our luggage to a suite where we had connecting bedrooms and began an old fashion slumber party -- but full of plain ol' hard work.

The table with 4RV YA, fiction and nonfiction with editor Carla Ralston, authors Janet K. Brown and Melanie Robertson-King behind publisher Vivian Zabel

Carla Ralston tries to stay warm
          Saturday morning, September 15, dawned cold, dreary, and wet. We hauled (well, mainly "they") boxes and boxes and boxes of books and materials from the van to our tables. Someone wanted pictures of what it took to set up. That's impossible. Take my word for it, with the help of 8 people, it took us over two hours, as we shivered and felt our feet become numb. Needless to say, the crowds stayed away -- until mid-afternoon when the sun decided to awaken and warm us a bit. Then the people began to flood the grounds, over 2000 of them. 

Galand Nuchols, Carla Ralston, Jacque Graham, Melanie King

          The book festival actually was a combination of conference and festival. Authors and other book related people held workshops in the museum and history center, found on two sides of the grass area where tents held a children's area, exhibitors, and special book signing area. 
The children's books table with gift bag for drawing

          4RV had two tables, and one table held nothing but a variety of children's books, and at the end the gift bag donated by Stephanie Burkhart for a drawing. We had several people sign up, and the woman who won loved it.

Janet K. Brown, Melanie Robertson-King, Galand Nuchols

          4RV had three new releases, with their authors present to promote their books, and one of our top editors at our booth: Melanie Robertson-King from Ontario, Canada and her debut novel A Shadow in the Past; Janet K. Brown from Wichita Falls, Texas and her first book Victoria and the Ghost; Galand Nuchols from Mt. Pleasant, Texas with her second 4RV book Leroy's Chance; and editor Carla Ralston from North Dakota.

          Also located in the exhibitors' tent were some of the award groups. They were looking for children's books and middle grade/young adult books, published in 2012. They left with three entries for the Bill Martin Jr. Award: My Cat, Porcupine's Seeds, and Rhino Crashes &Critter Classes. For the William Allen White Children's Book Awards, the representatives took First Flag of New Hampshire, Life on Hold, and A Shadow from the Past. Joining them soon will be Victoria and the Ghost and Leroy's Chance.

          We sold several books, more than usual at a book festival. All told, the Kansas Book Festival was a success for 4RV Publishing.

A few glimpses of the hard work:

Boxes under table after setup
Boxes under the other table after setup

       Hope these pictures give just a glimpse of some of the work involved.

Galand begins tearing down

Even husbands work - Charles Brown
Sisters help, too - Galand's sister

Melanie sells herself and her book

      And then there's the "job" of meeting, greeting customers and persuading them they want your book.  


  1. It was a fun weekend, despite the cold, damp start to the morning... and all the hard work of setting up and tearing down.

  2. At least we had help. And in a crazy way, even all the work was fun.

  3. I'd love to attend and help out at a book fair - it'd have to be local for me though.

  4. I don't know about getting to New York. Of course if a book conference would pay my way to be a speaker ...

  5. Vivian, thank you so much for sharing your pictures and your thoughts on the book festival. I wish I could have been there. It looks like it was a lot of hard work, yet still rewarding!


  6. Yes, both hard work and rewarding.

    Find me a conference or book festival in your area that will pay me to attend and speak or have a workshop, and we'll show up in other areas.