For me, the Maine Lobster Festival has always signaled the beginning of the end of summer. Folks are wrapping up their summer vacations and getting kids ready to go back to school. This year, being a part of the 70th, was the biggest professional event so far of my new writing career and it was a fantastic experience! I was there Saturday and Sunday from 12p.m. to 4p.m. Thousands of people walked by my table during those hours, some stopped, some didn’t.
My table was along the center line of the tent, with walkways in front and behind me. There were several authors and book vendors in the tent as well as a man who demonstrated modern lobster trap building, vendors who sold handmade Maine crafts, Maine themed t-shirts among others. One of the biggest draws, however, was the marine life touch tank situated at the far end of the tent on the water side. This, for many, was the main attraction of the tent. Kids and adults alike love the touch tank where you can get an up close look at small marine life and even pick some of it up if you dare. The challenge of being a vendor before the touch tank is getting people to stop at your table. This takes some skill, and there was definitely a learning curve for me. What saved me most of the time was the swag, and the candy. With the help of Dave Dailey, my graphic designer extraordinaire, we designed a commemorative magnet to give away , and I also had a free raffle to give away a couple limited edition The Empire / Maine Lobster Festival t-shirts. The bowl of vintage type candy – mini rolls of Necco Wafers, Tootsie Rolls, salt water taffy and lollipops also attracted people.
There was a lot of trial and error in learning to get people’s attention, but I feel like by midway I had developed a pretty good spiel. My swag consisted of a postcard that has the book cover on one side and on the back is a quick biography of me, and a condensed blurb about the book, all my social media contact info, as well as QR code and where online the book can be purchased. I would stand with a postcard and magnet in my hand and try to make eye contact, or I’d yell “free raffle!” which sometimes helped slow people down as they walked by. Once that happened I’d hand them the swag and go into a quick speech about the book. Sometimes it ended in a sale, but either way they walked off with information about the book and where to buy it.
It was a whirlwind couple of days! I was exhausted and exhilarated at the same time. It was really cool to meet a few authors and some really nice people from all over the world. The photo gallery above has some pictures I took and that were taken. I wish I’d taken more, but the days flew by…
A month has gone by since the festival, and now summer really is coming to a close. Labor Day weekend 2017 is in the books, kids are back to school. Soon the weather will start to cool and we’ll start dreaming of next summer. In the meantime, I have book 2 to finish writing and new swag to design for Maine Lobster Festival 2018. Hope to see you there!
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