Pay authors, or make them pay?

That on-going discussion about authors being paid to come to book festivals? Well, I’ve come across a different way of looking at it. You could charge them to attend.

OK, so in the first place there is a difference between countries; how you do things. And a book festival is not the same as a book fair. It’s just that in Gothenburg the fair does look a lot like a festival, too, with events all over the place. So someone wishing to organise a smaller fair such as the one I’ve read about, is clearly identifying with the market stall idea, rather than the public performance.

Not to worry, in order to save the participating authors from having to fork out actual money – although it’s around £5 in advance if you want coffee on the day – they are being asked to give [at least] one book as a raffle prize. And they’ll get a table from which to sell or market their books.

Meanwhile, someone ‘neutral’ will do a couple of talks; mostly about the books available to buy.

Whether the venue will charge to enter, I have no idea. I believe they should, and that way no one who’s come to do actual work there would need to give anything but their time. The venue will presumably make money on the raffle tickets as well as any ice creams or coffees bought by the plentiful visitors.

What gets me more than the ‘give us a free book’ idea, is that the authors who probably are quite interesting people, with tales to tell, are doing the bookselling, while someone else who might as well keep shop, is going to talk… The least this person could do would be to talk to the authors, giving the audiences a better idea of who they are and why their books might be fun to read.

One more thing; the organisers would like the authors to publicise the event.

But as I said, we all do things our own way.

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