River Reads 2016

event-flyerOn Sunday, October 23rd, I participated in the inaugural River Reads author festival. The brainchild of Brandi Megan Granett, with assistance from Marie C. Collins, the 46-author event happened at Prallsville Mills in Stockton, NJ.

The venue buzzed with energy from the moment we set up. The upstairs housed the children’s authors, and we had a great deal of fun decorating and dressing up. The downstairs held the adult authors, who were a bit more sedate but enjoyed visiting us upstairs to chat and filch our candy.

Prallsville Mills

Prallsville Mills

For a first-time event, we had a good customer turnout. Traffic was steady most of the day, peaking between 2-4 in the afternoon. Because of the beautiful weather outside, we also drew in plenty of people who had been hiking or biking on the tow path that runs behind the mill.

Riverside at River Reads

My lunch spot

The Delaware River behind River Reads

The Delaware River






Author readings ran downstairs (we could hear the applause wafting up the staircase to us), and later in the day, when we had more children in the customer crowd, several readings happened in the upstairs reading area as well.

River Reads upstairs reading spot

Upstairs reading area

The event ran without a hitch, the weather cooperated, and I got to spend the day sharing a table with Jack Hillman, whose chain mail was quite the hit with the customers. I also got to catch up with author friends I hadn’t seen in some time: Donna Galanti, Keith Strunk, Kit Grindstaff, Al Lohn, Kathryn Craft, Phil Giunta, and Kelly Simmons.


Kit Grindstaff & Donna Galanti at River Reads

Kit Grindstaff & Donna Galanti






I had a spooky enjoyable time at the first-ever River Reads festival, and I hope they make it an annual event.

Author Kerry Gans at River Reads

My next event will be November 5th at Open Book bookstore in Elkins Park, PA.









River Reads Kicks Off the Next Marketing Wave

River Reads event informationThis weekend I will participate in a massive author event called River Reads. The brain-child of Brandi Megan Granett with organizational assistance from Marie C. Collins, this will be a gathering of 46 authors at the Prallsville Mill in Stockton, NJ.

The authors write for all ages and all genres—17 are children’s authors, which leaves 29 for the grown-ups. So there really is something for everyone at this event. And it’s not simply authors hawking their wares, either. We have author readings, crepes, wine, a scavenger hunt, and a raffle for gift cards!

I am very excited to be a part of this, but the question is, am I ready? The children’s authors (and many of the others) have agreed to set a Halloween-y tone, so I’m bringing some things I don’t normally bring to an event—as well as some things I do.

  • Books
  • Table cloth
  • Chair
  • Autographing pens
  • Credit card device/change for cash
  • Swag
  • Fliers
  • Crystal Ball
  • Scarecrows (for a book-related giveaway)
  • Raffle slips
  • Candy
  • Witch’s Hat

Think I’ve got everything? I hope so because I can’t fit more in my car!

The weather is supposed to be nice, which will be a change for me—my last 3 events it either rained or threatened to rain. It will likely also mean increased traffic for the event.

I really enjoy these author events. While there is some debate as to if you sell more or fewer books when you are “competing” with so many other authors for attention, the wonderful sense of camaraderie makes up for any lost sales. We’re all in the same boat, we all have war stories to tell, we all have advice to share and to listen to. I find that no matter how many or how few sales I have, these events are never a waste of my time.

River Reads has me jazzed, because has been a buzz about this event from the very beginning, which is a credit to Brandi and Marie’s hard work. Check back next week to see how it went (and find out what’s up next for me)!

River Reads kids activities




Indie Author Day 2016

Indie Author Day t shirtSaturday, October 8th was the first annual Indie Author Day celebration. Nationwide, libraries, book stores, and book festivals showcased authors who have self-published their books. Th event introduced readers to authors they might not have known, and we authors networked with each other.

I spent my first Indie Author Day at the Vineland Public Library in Vineland, NJ. At 5:30 AM, my child woke me up complaining of a sore throat. By the end of the day she would be running a fever of 102. Still, I left my supportive husband in charge of the child and made my way to Vineland.

The trip should have been straightforward, but I roadwork delayed me. Note to self: When your GPS warns you about a backup, take the alternate route offered. Then the rain began, but I made the library with 2 minutes to spare.

buddy-the-therapy-dogThe Vineland Library is snug and welcoming. Four other authors made up the showcase with me: Kathryn Ross, Denise Hazelwood, Eloise Sulzman, JoDenise Muller and Buddy the Chihuahua. Buddy is a therapy dog, and was quite the draw for kids and adults alike!

The rainy weather kept traffic down, but we authors had a great time chatting with each other and exchanging war stories. They gave me quite a few tips about self-publishing that will come in handy in the future, and enjoyed the camaraderie of others also in the marketing trenches.

I publish as a hybrid author: as small press published my novel The Witch of Zal in 2015, while I self-published my genealogy reference book The Warren Family of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Their Ancestors in 2014. As I see it, the future of publishing for every author will exist somewhere on the self-publishing-to-hybrid continuum. Some will choose to stay completely self-published, some will have some percentage of titles also carried by traditional presses, and some will want to always have a publisher.

Indie Author Day

There is no doubt that self-publishing is here to stay, but self-publishing is also changing at a rapid pace. Indie Author events like this help the authors keep abreast of changes, and allow readers to find new authors. It’s a win-win, and I hope to participate again next year.

I now get a week off from “eventing”, then my next event will be River Reads on October 23rd. I am so excited for that event—a massive showcase of 46 authors. I’ll talk more about it next week!

Indie Author Day setup




Collingswood Book Festival 2016

Collingswood Book Festival balloonsThe Collingswood Book Festival is a massive annual outdoor book fair held in Collingswood, NJ. Music, food, author panels, and a children’s area round out a street full of book sellers and authors. If you love books, it’s the place to be the first Saturday in October!

Weather is always a concern when you hold an outdoor event, but never fear! In case of rain, the Festival management has a plan—they move everyone inside the nearby high school/middle school. This year, a full week of rain showed no signs of letting up, so the managers moved us indoors.

This was my first year as a vendor. I’d been to the Festival a couple of times as a browser, and it was dizzying to see the vast array of books laid out across several blocks. As a vendor, the sight of tables packed into the gym—all with books piled high—created excitement.

Author Kerry Gans at the Collingswood Book Festival

The weather didn’t dampen the energy at the Festival. Maybe being indoors magnified it as it ricocheted around the gym, but the buzz began long before the first customer walked through the door. The camaraderie of fellow authors made the long day go by quickly, and the streams of book lovers that braved the weather to visit us brought smiles.

Halloween fun at the Collingswood Book FestivalAll in all, my first Collingswood Book Festival was a great experience. I met some other authors, networked with a few people holding other book festivals in the spring, sold some books, and chatted with people who get as enthused about books as I do. I’ll be back next year—but hopefully outdoors!

This Saturday, October 8th, I’ll be at the Vineland Library for their Indie Author Day celebration from 12-3 pm. If you’re in the area, stop by!

Vendors at the Collingswood Book Festival




Marketing Madness

This past Saturday kicked off my busy marketing season. My event schedule starts with three book events in a row.

eastampton-dayFirst was Eastampton Day, the yearly celebration of Eastampton Township. In spite of a cloudy start to the day, it didn’t rain, and the sun broke through the clouds around 1 pm. The pleasant day brought plenty of people to enjoy the bounce houses, carnival games, and dunk tank.

I had a good time chatting with my table neighbors and the people browsing the tables. I met one woman who runs a book club, who invited me to speak there, and several other customers excited about the book. All in all, a successful day!

My next two events are a little farther afield. Saturday is the Collingswood Book Festival in Collingswood, NJ. I have been there as a browser several times, but this is my first as a vendor. It’s usually a wonderful day if you’re a book lover. I’m hoping it doesn’t rain!

October 8th will see me in Vineland,  NJ, at the library’s Indie Author Day showcase. I have never been there before, but it promises to be a day of local authors showing their wares and talking books.

Although authors are often nervous about marketing events, I’m looking forward to both events and chatting with book lovers of all ages. If you’re in the area, stop by and say hello!



Authors Showcase, Ocean City, NJ

20160828_133950This past Sunday, I participated in the inaugural Ocean City Free Public Library Authors Showcase. It was a beautiful day, perfect beach weather. I dropped my husband and daughter at the 17th Street beach and headed over to the Library to set up.

The Library is housed in the Ocean City Community Center. The Showcase set up in the Atrium, a sunny, open area right in the middle of everything.


20160828_133903We had good foot traffic coming from the library’s book sale. The library itself is beautiful, with amazing murals in the kids’ section. If I was a kid, I would never leave.

The showcase had a festive atmosphere. Hey, it’s a day down the shore, what’s not to like? The other authors all seemed to enjoy getting to know each other. I sat next to Kimball Baker, author of For Those In Peril: A History of the Ocean City Life-Saving Station and we discovered a mutual love of genealogy. We passed the time chatting about family lines and brick walls, and the joy of finally finding a piece of information that confirms a new generation.


20160828_134239The other authors at the showcase were: Carol Brill, Tim Kelly, Jane Mayer Lueder, Laura J. Kaighn, Jennifer Shirk, Dave Rhodes, the Fabulous Gabriel, David Webb, Victoria Devine, Mary Ann Bolen, Catherine E. DePino, John Sweeden, Jonathon King, Kimball Baker, and Kiernan Shea.

I thoroughly enjoyed my experience at the Authors Showcase. I thank Julie Brown for setting it all up, and the Ocean City Free Public Library for hosting us. I hope they do it again next year. If so, I will be there!


Abington Library Local Author Expo: There’s No Place Like Home

Abington Township Free Public LibraryI lived in Abington Township for 32 years, so the Abington Township Free Public Library is my “home” library. I spent a great deal of time there in the pre-computer age, doing research for papers and reading for pleasure.

So attending Abington Library’s Local Author Expo on April 16th was like coming home. If felt so comfortable, even though the library has been renovated since my youth. The staff was welcoming, and made sure to come around to all the author tables to see what we had on offer. Librarians and authors are natural partners, after all!

Author Kerry Gans at Abington Library's Local Author Expo

The morning was busy, with customers wandering in from the outdoor vendors of the plant and book sales. I spoke for half an hour with one pre-published writer who had come to the library to buy debris bags for his garden! Everything went smoothly, except…

Technology is wonderful—except when it’s not. Last week my GPS sent me in a literal circle. This week, my credit card reader failed me for the first (and only) credit card sale of the day. Thankfully, the lady also had checks with her. Just to tease me, the credit card reader worked perfectly when I tested it after she had departed.

Authors at the Abington Library Local Author ExpoThe morning session was packed with authors of all genres. Chrissy Fanslau, Captain Morey, Ted Taylor, Charlene Crawford, Judith Rubenstein, Carol B. Polis, Tom Sims, Robert Walton, Jose Russo, Kevin J. McNamara, Wendy Tyson, Cheryl Rice, Chad M. Weiss, L. Ann Price, Peter W. Dawes, Javad Mohsenian, N.M. Lombardi, Toni McCloe, Leah Devlin, and Susan J. Reinhardt attended.

I arrived very close to opening time, so I ended up in the far back corner of the setup. That spot turned out to be a good one, as I got a table all to myself and it allowed space for customers to move easily around the table. It also allowed me to see out the wall of windows into the beautiful day.

The authors did half-day sessions, but I had managed to get slots for both morning and afternoon. When the morning crew went home, I moved my table to a strategic one in the front, directly at the top of the stairs leading to the children’s section. I remember those stairs well from my childhood—clattering down them was like going through the wardrobe to Narnia. A place of magic, mystery—and home of the three-legged turtle. The turtle is long gone, but the magic remains.

Abington Library Children's Department Sign

The afternoon saw visits from my parents (and daughter), brother, and Writers’ Coffeehouse friends Ann Stolinsky, Tony Athmejvar, and Beverly Black. The afternoon session authors included fellow Coffeehousers Carol Kasser and Chuck Regan, as well as other authors C.L. Lowry, Allan M. Heller, Verileah Teets, Fran Pelham & Bernadette Balcer, Debora Gossett Rivers, Madeline Wilson, Reginald Murray, Jack DeWitt, James M. Paradis, and my tablemate Clayvon C. Harris.

I had a successful and stimulating day at my home library. I sold some books, chatted with a bunch of great authors and readers, and got to breathe library air for the day. To top it off, my book, The Witch of Zal, is now available in the Abington Library, which makes me giddy.

I enjoyed this event, and I hope to do it again next year. As my protagonist Dorveday would agree, there’s no place like home!

The Witch of Zal table at Abington Library's Local Author Expo

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