Friday, April 23, 2010

Buttercups and Mysteries by Chester Campbell

Marilyn Meredith wrote a few days ago about her experiences at the Jackass Mail Run. My writers group colleague, Beth Terrell, and I recently started following Marilyn's habit of doing non-store signing events. They can be a lot of fun, meeting new readers, and a nice source of income. We did one a week ago Saturday and used the fancy new pop-up tent I bought.

They can produce goods results even when you don't wind up in the best of locations. The recent event was the Buttercup Festival at Nolensville, TN, a small community a few miles south of Nashville. They had several booth areas, along both sides of the main drag and around a couple of vacant lots between businesses. We were stuck in the back of a U-shaped setup near a slow-running but fairly wide creek. Though a lot of people didn't wander back that far, those who did frequently spent time lingering around the water.

Yellow was the dominant color for the event. I wore a yellow shirt, we had buttercups on the table, and Beth decorated the tent posts with garlands of fake yellow and white flowers. There were several food vendors, supplying drinks, barbeque, funnel cakes, and other goodies. A couple of Boy Scouts circulated around the area pulling a wagon loaded with soft drinks and water bottles. The photo below shows Beth and me with our books.

They had music and dancing a short distance down the road. We were far enough back to be behind the buildings so we could see and hear without being bombarded with too much volume. Our location was between The Feed Mill, billed as An Amish Country Market, and a two-story bed and breakfast. A small cabin behind the B&B, about 100 feet from us, provided convenient rest room facilities.

I had all five of my books available and sold enough to pay for the tent, showing buttercups and mysteries go well together. Our next booking is scheduled for June 19 at the popular RC-Moon Pie Festival in Belle Buckle, TN, about 60 miles south of Nashville. This one honors two Southern traditions, RC Cola and Moon Pies. It features a full day of activities, including a 10-mile run, games, contests, cloggers, country and bluegrass music, and the grand finale, cutting of the World's Largest Moon Pie, providing dessert for all.

Belle Buckle bills itself as "where we are 100 years behind the times and proud of it!" One of the town's claims to fame is Webb School, a private coeducational college prep school founded in 1870 by William Robert "Sawney" Webb. During his 56 years as principal, the school provided more Rhodes Scholars than any other secondary school in America. Under his leadership, Webb admitted females, Native American, and Asian American students. It is still one of the nations leading prep schools.

We're looking forward to more of these community festivals as venues for selling mystery novels. Other favorite non-store events are book fairs. Last Saturday was the Southern Kentucky BookFest in Bowling Green, and coming up in the fall are the Southern Festival of Books in Nashville and the Kentucky Book Fair in Frankfort.


Dana Fredsti said...

Like Marilyn's event, this one also sounds like it was well worth the time!

Chester Campbell said...

True, Dana. It was both fun and profitable. And a lot more people know about my books, even if they didn't buy one Saturday.

Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

I love these events. Just did one at the library with 9 other authors, 2 hours, sold 10 books, handed out tons of cards with the information that if they went to my website they could read the 1st chapters of every book. (This was for those who conveniently forgot to bring their wallet.)

Glad you did well and enjoyed it Chester.