As a lesbian fiction publisher I spend most of my time at my desk. There is not a lot of contact with readers in my daily routine. I guess the same is true for authors. So, I was happy to hear from Andi Marquette about her adventure at the Rainbow Book Fair in New York. And now I’m really looking forward to soon being out and about at some conferences and events to meet readers and authors.
This year, New York City’s Rainbow Book Fair was April 9 at John Jay College in Manhattan from 12-6 PM. The venue was a little difficult to find and required ID (it’s a university), but once in, the space was nice and well-lit.
The Ylva table was one of the first ones you’d see as you came in through the primary entrance where there were bagels and coffee available for vendors as they set up. We realized later that there was another entrance into the venue, and a lot of people were coming in that way and not making it down to our end.
We managed to remedy that with the help of author Michelle Teichman and her wife, who drove down from Toronto to participate. Kudos to them! They helped us get set up and took some of the books, including the Ylva Pride 2016 freebie anthology, and worked the crowd. I did that, as well, and it seemed to help, though initially, the majority of traffic was more interested in the M/M fiction—of which there was quite a bit. Ylva and Bold Strokes had lesbian fiction, but we didn’t see any other lesfic publishers that we knew.
The Ylva author reading showcase was slated for 1.30, so about ten minutes before, we all went to the room set aside for readings. Thanks to Ann Aptaker of Bold Strokes Books who kept an eye on the table for us while we were reading!
Author Cindy Rizzo started us off with a selection from her latest release, Getting Back, and then R.G. Emanuelle did a selection from her forthcoming novella, Have a Bite. Michelle Teichman read from her debut novel, The Space Between and I read from my short story, “The Secret’s in the Sauce,” which will appear in the forthcoming anthology Order Up: A Menu of Lesbian Romance & Erotica. Meg Harrison was also scheduled to read, but sadly, she wasn’t able to attend because she was sick. Missed you, Meg!
Around 3.00, the makeup of the crowd shifted and it seemed that more women started to arrive at the venue and that’s when we really started to get traffic and interest in the books. We got several questions about our list and three people were interested in submissions guidelines. All of us there were familiar with all of the books, and we were able to engage with the people who stopped by and give them a personalized shopping experience, if you will.
The Ylva Pride 2016 anthology proved popular, and we ran out of those before 4 PM. Several people commented on what a great idea it was, so I’m really glad we had copies on hand for this event.
It seemed that one of the best things that happened—and the free story anthology will help, I think—is that we introduced a lot of people to Ylva and Ylva authors, though there were a few comments along the lines of, “Oh, yeah, Ylva. I’ve heard of you. I really like what you’re doing.” That was gratifying, and made me proud to be there. And it was great getting to spend part of my day with Michelle Teichman and her wife, R.G. Emanuelle, and Cindy Rizzo.
Hope to see you there next year!
Andi Marquette is a native of New Mexico and Colorado and an award-winning mystery, science fiction, and romance writer.