Prose in the Park

For those of you who follow this blog regularly, sorry for my posting being inconsistent – end of year is busy in the teaching world, and I’ve been trying to find a solid day between Friday and Monday that consistently works for my weekly ramble. With things like getting a “weekly digest” of blogs emailed to you, maybe that doesn’t matter? (This is just one of the many random thoughts that enters a professional writer’s mind.)

Part of my failure to post this weekend was because I was at Prose in the Park, which is an emerging literary festival here in Ottawa. If you’ve never been (the event is only in its second year) it involves various writers and publishers of all genres descending on Parkdale Park to market their books, engage in panels and interact with the community. My chapbook endeavors are pretty new so I haven’t done many of these events, and I was particularly excited to see what Prose would be like. Any chance to interact with my fellow crazies – I mean, writers – is something I try not to miss.

I’d be lying if I said it was a perfect morning. Foot traffic was pretty slow, likely because we were competing with West Fest and Doors Open Ottawa (how dare you go to the Mint when you can come read books!). The organizers were hoping to have about 2000 people pass through, but there’s no way we reached that number. Even being placed in Tent 1 right at one of the entrances didn’t seem to help – though I think more people floated in from the other end of the park. That said, the writers I was hanging out with in our cramped tent (seriously, Prose organizers, get bigger spaces next time) made the day flow by. Benoit Chartier and I basically devolved into carnival barkers, with him calling out “Do you like books with words?” while I reminded him to warn potential buyers about the curse surrounding his books. (Don’t worry, they’re all cursed – we like to be equitable in the Evil Authors League.)

Despite the slow traffic, I was still able to sell some chapbooks, covering the cost of my table and then some. Science is for Real (my little poke at Hollywood SF) was by far my best seller, even though it was the oldest work on display – maybe I need to write a sequel? I was a little disappointed that my other stuff didn’t sell as well – particularly Archives – but I’m hoping they’ll do better at an event with some more traffic.

If you’re curious, you can check out my complete list of my chapbooks. Next up I’ll be at the Ottawa Small Press Book Fair, which will be held at the Jack Purcell Community Center on June 18. Feel free to drop by – we’ll have books with words!



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