Thursday, 5 May 2011
I know I shouldn't complain. Look, we've all organised events where the public has stayed away in droves. And people will hate me for this. But eventually you do have to say something is not great. Yesterday Five Leaves had a stall at a "Reading Fair" organised by Nottingham Libraries. That is if the combined strength of Five Leaves, the local small press Weathervane, a promotional stall for Alt Fiction, a stall from Nottingham Writers' Studio, SoccerData and Nottingham Libraries themselves make up a Fair. Nope - six tables a fair do not make. The added attractions were five 15-minute talks, in the same room. We'd been asked to provide speakers but had doubts, passing up the opportunity to bring in some of our writers, and our doubts became reality when we saw the six tables, with about ten chairs laid out for an audience. Too many chairs we thought, and, indeed, at least one speaker had an audience made up solely of stall holders. Well, we sold four books over the day, and our staffie had her laptop so managed a fairly quiet and uninterrupted day at the mobile office. But it is not good enough. Nottingham Central Library has a regular audience, is slap bang in the middle of town and has staff devoted to promoting such things. The Nottingham literati would probably love to attend a Reading Fair with lots of stalls, events and publicity. These things cost stall holders time and money. Next time?