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Three ways to get involved with book festivals when applications have closed

Smiling girl in a red raincoat holds a cream umbrella in the rain.
Girl in a red raincoat holds an umbrella in the rain.

Most festivals are booked up nearly a year in advance and it’s tempting to think that it’s too late by now to bother with them.

But I have news! There is a lot that you can do now and it might still result in a booking.

1. Make a list of your target festivals, especially those in your local area or close enough to get to in around an hour in whichever way you prefer to travel.

2. Contact all of them and ask these questions:

  • Have they had any cancellations? If not, ask to go on the waiting list as you are local and can get there quickly and at short notice. Write the date in your diary and protect it as long as you can.

  • When is the application window for next year? Write it in your planner.

  • Do they have a book stall? Could you sell your books? Could you volunteer to take a shift on the stall? Do they have any visitor spots at the stall?

3. Make a note to attend the festivals anyway as a visiting author.

  • Imagine what you would do if you were presenting. Look at the format.

  • Take reference photos.

  • Talk to other authors and the organisers.

  • Go armed with business cards/bookmarks, a couple of copies of your books and an eBusiness card.

  • Wear your merchandise or signature attire and take a branded travel cup if you have one (also eco-friendly).

And if you happen to have a distinctive golf umbrella, take it with you. Especially if you’re in the UK.

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