The tinkle of laughter through a canvas tent. The simple delight of hearing a story read aloud. The thrill of spotting your favourite author queuing for a foraged elk burger. It could only mean one thing - the literary festival season is upon us.
These days festival organisers are increasingly open to indie authors because they can bring something different to the table. So if you fancy the idea of reading your book aloud to a room/tent/pub-full of literary punters, there are a few things to bear in mind.
As ever, start local with any literary festivals in your area (see below for lists), particularly if your book is set nearby (a ready-made audience of people wanting to see if they feature in it, is no bad thing). Contact the organisers well in advance, 6-9 months to be on the safe side, and make your pitch as irresistible as possible. Ideally you will also be able to promote your event - and therefore the festival - through local and social media.
Talking (engagingly!) about your self-publishing experience is always an interesting angle, while giving tips to other aspiring authors on how to get their book out into the world. Or maybe team up with another local writer for a feisty debate on the state of traditional publishing versus the DIY option. Either way, if you can pass on valuable information while being entertaining, you're onto a winner.
The Cheltenham Literary Festival is one of the many larger festivals now welcoming self-publishers. Their Locally Sourced events mix and match a variety of authors, both traditional and indie, as well as provide opportunities for writers to read their work aloud open mic style in the "You Heard It Here First" part of the programme.
WhitLit is another festival throwing open its doors. Alongside the illustrious likes of Kate Mosse, David Nicholls, Patrick Gale and Penny Vincenzi, there's an entire day of events devoted to self-publishing. The Writers' Day on Saturday 9th May includes debates and discussions with amongst others, the 'collaborative' publisher Urbane Publications, Jo Fletcher Books (an imprint of Quercus) and two top literary agents from Sheil Land Associates and Hardman Swainson. There are also writing and editing workshops as well as a lively (hopefully!) discussion on Everything You Need to Know About Self-Publishing with Debbie Young, a successful self-published author and key player in the Alliance of Independent Authors and myself.
The latter event (12.30 on 9th May) will include tried and tested advice for successfully publishing your book, together with some of the more extraordinary experiences I had en route, such as unwittingly inviting the Mayor to my launch (who came and in turn brought the Evening Standard), blagging a window in Waterstones for the whole of December, and managing to shift 31, 000 copies of the Kindle edition of Cinema Lumière in a month.
And if you fancy making a WhitLit weekend of it, I'll be doing a reading the night before (Friday, 8th May, 6.30 pm) at the beachside Keams Yard gallery, where we are building a miniature two-seated cinema to screen some of the world's first ever films made by the Lumière brothers and Georges Méliès.
For more literary festivals, click on the following :
Catch up on the previous self-publishing blogs in Huffington Post.