The stellar amount of books left me breath-taken, but even more impressive was the many people come to see them.
The Bella Center in Copenhagen was filled to bursting with publishers and the books they were pushing and I walked through all of it to get to my own publisher: Egolibris.
I was there because my Danish book, “Tidsfangen” – “The Time Prisoner”, had now been published.
On the way to our booth I realized how heavy the competition was and the Bella Center transformed into a battle field.
Egolibris’ booth was small and situated in front of the Book Cafés large stage. I was about to ask her if that was where I’d be reading aloud when she sighed and said:
“Unfortunately we’ve got this big stage in front of us, so an earlier author had to basically shout in order to be heard.”
I smirked. “Don’t worry. I’ll steal them away,” I promised, confident in the boom of my voice, which was always remarked upon as being hard to ignore.
Seeing my book in physical form was extraordinary. It is mainly distributed as an e-book but my publisher decided to print a few and it felt alien to see scenes I thought were further into the story already at the beginning and vice versa.
It felt so real.
I wandered around while I waited for 13:00 to roll around and held my book in front of me as if it’d disappear as soon as I looked away. The excitement for this big day overshadowed my external senses and it was hard to appreciate my surroundings. I kept wishing I’d known about the book fair before. When I was a kid, running around from booth to booth would have been the dream.
I practiced the part I’d decided to read aloud in front of my sister and her landlord, who was an incredibly nice woman who tagged along and even drove us out there, and then the moment came.
I read, constantly dreading that the passers-by wouldn’t understand what was going on due to the complex premise that they hadn’t read. I read, pouring my soul into these characters in order to bring them to life. I read, hoping that Louise, Paul and Maria would win their hearts over.
Now, don’t imagine a crowd stopping to gawk at me as if I was the main character in some cheesy movie. They didn’t.
But the people from that large stage did come over to complain that we were stealing attention and my publisher had to turn my mic down.
I didn’t notice any of this. I read and I hoped and apparently I caught a few people’s attention.
Afterwards I received pads on the back and was approached by this old, crow-like woman who just stuck a book of blank pages in my hand along with a pen and suddenly I was giving away my autograph to this random person who knew nothing about my book.
Lol, them autograph gatherers. I’m guessing she collects all the autographs she can and hopes she’ll be able to sell them some day.
Writing is the journey I’ve always wanted to be on. It’s wonderful in itself, just writing, but now it has become something more. A new struggle begins now, not concerning finishing a WIP but actually getting people to read it.
(It’s not so hard, just duct-tape people to a chair and force their eyes open and leave the book in front of them – eventually they’ll get bored enough to give it a go.) I look forward to this new battle and all the ways I’ll grow with it.
Have you read anything aloud at a book fair? How did it go? Do you enjoy going such places or is it too crowded?