This weekend, the city of Elgin, Illinois held its first Elgin Literary Festival, featuring events for both writers and readers. It included panels on various genres, writing workshops, social events, and book signings. I was only able to attend a few panels due to family obligations, but here's a brief description of what I did.
Friday night featured an Open Mic reading at the Blue Box Cafe, a coffee bar and deli with friendly staff and a Whoivan theme. I brought Alex along after picking him up from school, and we ate sandwiches while Alex played on his iPad and I listened to other readings. The selections included a scene from a literary SF novel, lots of poetry, a fantasy story, and parts of a memoir. I read the first chapter of Seasons' Beginnings, and it was well received.
The next event I attended was a science fiction/fantasy panel featuring several local authors, some traditionally published, some independent. They discussed topics such as what drew them to the genre, where they found inspiration, and who their favorite authors were. This panel was geared more toward readers than writers, and it was well-attended.
The final event I was able to attend was a Social Media for Writers workshop presented by author A.J. Lane. It was an introduction to Facebook and Twitter, but also touched on other aspects of marketing, such as getting reviews (apparently you need to have fifty before the Amazon algorithms start promoting you) and how to create teasers for your books using stock photos and lines from your books.
There were plenty of other panels and workshops that I would have liked to seen, but perhaps next year I'll have more time for it. If possible, I'd love to be a panelist as well.
Are there any literary festivals in your area?