From the Event Desk - Morristown Festival of Books 2021
So, today was the Morristown Festival of Books. I was not a part of the event this year, but it had come up during my first round of research on events to do in the area. Like most of the events that I had found, there wasn't much information on the event itself. There was even less on how to be an author vendor for it. At first, I figured that signup was just not open yet. But the later in the year it went, the more confused I was. Eventually, I figured out that the event is generally by invitation only, which was confirmed a few weeks ago on their website. Still, I kept thinking that maybe I could get in on it in the future. And there was mention of signups for next year starting in January, so I thought that I could try for it next year.
Still, I figured I would go over there today to poke around a little. I imagined something like what they have in Collingswood, where they shut down a road and had it right out in the open. A whole line of tents stretching the entire section. Or better yet, a field somewhere full of tents. The reality of the event was completely different. Instead of a line of tents, or even a huge section for it like with IABX, there were like three or four areas designated to the event. It was all scattered over a few blocks, with large event tents like with IABX. No independent setup needed, which is both good and bad. As I drove through, it was a bit confusing to see where everything was.
After parking (in a Capital One Bank parking lot), I quickly walked past some of the tents, seeing what I could see without staying long. And what I saw was enough for me to know that this event just isn't for me. There were only three tents that I saw with actual authors selling books. There were probably about five or six crammed together in a small space. Instead of long tables for each author, it seemed like there were two authors to a table, with the tables in a circle and the customers on the outside.
As best as I can tell, the focus of the event is more on the talks the authors give to large crowds. There were certainly more people in the main tents than at IABX. It was better organized, too. However, the talks were also my least favorite part of IABX. I liked getting that one on one time with the potential readers, trying to get them interested in my books. The pitching of the books themselves, if you will. While I didn't stay for any of the talks, I just don't really do well with large crowds like that. Especially when they're right on top of each other.
The good news of this whole thing is that I'll still be going to Collingswood. I liked the format of that event; it was just that it's a 70-90 minute drive. Morristown was only 48 minutes away, which was nice. But I'd rather drive the extra distance to get an event that I would do well in, than go to one that's just going to trigger my social anxiety and not do anything for my books.