As we are fast approaching the end of spring and the genesis of summer, this is normally the time of year where the publishing industry and book world celebrate all that is hot in reading and upcoming works as well. From BookExpo America to BookCon, these events serve as the Comic Cons for literature; complete with booths, author panels, book signings, and so on.
A lot of these events tend to take place in New York City, which is understandable given the large publishing houses that have established themselves there. However, as a native of the San Francisco Bay Area, I’ve always found it odd that we didn’t have anything like that out here. Long before the emergence of the tech industry that the world knows the Bay Area for now, this region of the country has also thrived in the literary scene, in more ways than one. The historic City Lights Bookstore is based in San Francisco, NaNoWriMo was founded here, the Beat Generation had some of its more impacting moments here as they dwelled in on the counterculture movement that was emerging during their time, and more.
As it turns out, I wasn’t the only one wondering the lack of such a celebration for literature here, which was why I was ecstatic to learn a few days ago that this weekend is the inaugural Bay Area Book Festival… and that’s exactly where I got back from a few hours ago.
This two-day event is taking over (appropriately) downtown Berkeley. Walking around the area, there were booths that played home to various bookstores and book publishers, presentations scattered in venues all over the place, a children’s stage was active in entertaining some of the younger attendees, and also there was this incredible art piece on display called the Lacuna; an installation made up of about 50,000 books that people can take from its shelves for free. It was so thrilling for me, not only as an author, but also as a lover of books in general. To actually be surrounded by so many people at once who share a love for books as I do, you have to understand what an incredibly rare circumstance that is.
My attendance of this festival proved to be a good opportunity- as well as an exercise- in telling people about my own published work. It’s been close to a year since I released A Moment’s Worth and there are times where I still find myself hesitating to tell people that particular detail about myself; perhaps out of a desire to not draw too much attention to myself, or due to uncertainty as to how the individual will take that in. Nonetheless, this was clearly an appropriate event where I can say, “Yes, I am a writer,” and each time, I’ve been met with impressed looks. More people now know about my work, and ultimately, I returned home with less business cards than I had when I left this morning.
I even went out of my way to attend some of the presentations; one of which was made by Jay Rubin, who is one of the English language translators for the written works by Haruki Murakami. He was a pleasurable fellow to listen to, as he talked a lot about translating this mastermind’s works, his own novel “The Sun Gods” (which I later bought, with an autograph from him on the cover page and everything), and he even read to us a short story by Murakami that has never been formally published in the United States (something about a metaphysical girl from Ipanema who, as a youth, believed salads were the secret to a happy life).
Another presentation I attended was done by five self-published authors. Being a self-published author myself, I figured it be wisest to go to and possibly learn something new about the business as I go forward with not only promoting A Moment’s Worth but also in preparation for the day when I release the second novel. Without a doubt, each of the authors definitely have written books that they are incredibly proud of. However, I didn’t feel entirely satisfied by the presentation. While there were a few new things that I learned, I couldn’t help but feel that the overall presentation was lacking in key elements and subject matter that I certainly would have liked to learn more about.
These were primary moments through my day at the Bay Area Book Festival. It’s only in its first year, and while I don’t know precisely how many people attended, I can definitely attest to the fact that from the first day alone, it has gotten a good turnout of people of all ages. Plus, one of the nice things about it is that it’s a free event; which evidently contradicts BEA and BookCon where badges and hotel rooms are to be reserved months in advance.
Attending the event was a reassuring experience; in the nature of seeing how books still remain relevant to people even in this tech savvy era we’re in now, in the nature of how authors can still be seen as bigger inspirations than a picturesque celebrity, and in the nature of the Bay Area still receiving recognition for its ongoing literary scene. I look forward to seeing this event continue and grow in the years to come.
A Moment’s Worth is now available through the following venues: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, iTunes. Please leave a review if you can, for my goal is to get a total of at least 20 reviews on all venues (so far, I’ve gotten 6 reviews so I’m already past a quarter of a way to my goal).
Check out its Goodreads page, which includes two trivia quizzes for all who’ve completed reading it already.