I write this completely exhausted, but happy. This weekend was a three day marathon of participation in the 16th annual Baltimore Book Festival. We had panels and readings non-stop from my chapter, the Maryland Romance Writers. Of course, we weren't alone, by any means. Here's the official description:
The Baltimore Book Festival features hundreds of author appearances and book signings, 100+ exhibitors and booksellers, non-stop readings on multiple stages, cooking demos by celebrity chefs, poetry readings and workshops, panel discussions, walking tours, storytellers and hands-on projects for kids, street theater, live music, and a delicious variety of food, beer and wine.
What made the weekend so special? It was a living, breathing celebration of reading. This wasn't a writer's conference, or a fan convention. It was the City of Baltimore inviting all its residents out to revel in books. And they did! We had EPIC rain on Friday, and yet still had standing room only in our tent. When the weather took a turn for the better on Saturday, the crowds grew exponentially. People purchased our books. Aspiring authors hung on our every word, and plan to join our chapter. Passers by paused to hear a reading, then sat down and stayed for the whole hour, sucked in by three more readings.
Coincidentally, the National Book Festival ran down in DC this weekend. I'm sure there are many others across the country. So if you have one in your town, I encourage you to make the time to attend. And if there isn't one yet, start the ball rolling!