I got an e-mail with an application for the 2011 Harlem Book Fair. It’s scheduled to for July 23, 2011.
Unfortunately, I’m sitting this one out.
Why am I staying home? I make no money at this show. In 2009 I spent over $400 to make $10. In 2010 I spent $300 to make $5. And I was selling books at discounted prices last year. As much as I’d like to help the community by trying providing a choice to brothers and sisters I just can’t afford to provide that choice to readers at the Harlem Book Fair this year. I’ve been out of work for two years now, my unemployment is exhausted, and money is tight. I have to cut my costs.
On top of the losses I ate for two years in a row, the rate for a table has gone up from $225 to $325. That’s too much money for a self-publisher like me to spend on a show I continue to lose money on. And from what I’ve observed over the past two years, the Harlem Book Fair isn’t a place for books like mine. The fair is more a venue where street/urban lit is sold; authors of contemporary African-American fiction like I write just get ignored for most of the day. Sadly during the fair I had more inquiries from white and Latino readers for Marilyn than black readers, and a handful of inquiries about Isis and Cassandra. That’s not enough support for me to invest money in getting a table.
Although I’m unable to attend the fair, I’ll still be persevering towards getting the word out about my books online. Instead of spending money for a table, I’ll be putting my limited resources to work towards releasing my last two books The Temptation of John Haynes and All About Nikki. In addition, my promotional efforts for all my titles will continue online with twitter, facebook, and MySpace.
I’m asking readers who would have attended the Harlem Book Fair looking for my work to buy my books on amazon and Barnes & Noble.