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Virtual Book Fair on the North Coast 500


My stall photograph by Debbie Ross


What is a Book Fair without any physical books? Well still a chance to sell books, meet readers, if only through messages and of course other authors. So all in all quite good actually. There was time to browse at my leisure. The opportunity to go backwards and forwards checking out the different authors and genres. Have a wee look to see which ones I would like to buy, change my mind then change it again. Go off for a walk with the dog, have a cup of tea then back again to purchase the original books I choose in the first place. Yes I am that fickle. Not a decisive shopper at all.

I blame my mum really, she always told me to shop around “Don’t just buy the first thing you see.” I always thought that good advice until I realised that I could spend a whole day shopping around (and I have to admit here, I hate shopping), to eventually go back and buy that first thing I liked. These habits, learnt young are difficult to break. I do try though but usually fail abysmally more often than not.

Anyway back to the books. Lots to choose from. Some publishers with a stream of different genre. Authors too who write in all sorts of diverse styles. Portraying deep emotions with historical content that swirl around from romance to murder. On a more contemporary note, there was poetry, YA and children’s books, cookery and short stories. Dark and brooding deaths to light hearted whimsical escapism. Fact and fiction, history and geography all played a part. Paintings, prints and cards were also offered. Bargains, discounts and signed products were all a piece of the creative mixture. And then there were the brownies that could be bought and collected if you lived locally. On a cool weekend when the sky and sea are stark blue and wispy white clouds drift up high, believe me that was no hardship.

Reader or buyers whatever you want to call us, still got the chance to talk via messages on the Facebook page. Asking authors for suggestions on what would suit them best. There was as ever the chance to approach writers directly via their own various social media pages.

What of the writers themselves? Well we got to communicate with other authors as well as readers. We had the chance to sell some of our wares, not just to the local population but possibly to those a lot further afield. Did we miss the the face to face with potential readers? Well of course we did. I cannot tell you how amazing it feels when a reader searches you out and tells you how much they enjoyed your work. How exciting it is when a booklover buys one of your creations for the first time. Will they enjoy it, will it fit well with them, and will it leave them with a warm fuzzy feeling and a smile on their faces? Well, ok these are my stories I am talking about. I think I would worry if a dark bloody murder story left someone feeling like that. But it is like that whole ‘passing it on’ concept we keep hearing about. We pass on our creations, the reader passes back their enjoyment to us, their chosen writer. The feeling for that feedback for this author is one of phenomenal fulfilment and always unexpected. It helps as I beaver away on my own to continue this often lonely working existence. Lockdown for some writers, is not such a massive change of mind-set.

So Deddie Ross organiser of the Virtual Nigg Book Fair: did we all help raise some money to aid the upkeep of the hall? Did you think all your hard work was worth it? Would you consider doing maybe a joint in person fair as before with a virtual element built in next year? Or are you just going to collapse under the weight of all this organising? I hope the answer to all but the last question is yes. As a reader, writer and participant I enjoyed this virtual experience. To me it was a success, it was worth all your hard work. So thank you, break out a drink, grab one of your brownies and have a well errand rest and congratulations on your success.

You can still visit at the following link; https://www.facebook.com/nigghallbookfair/?epa=SEARCH_BOX

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© 2020 by Ceitidh Hutton