Book Fair Opens Doors For Self Published
When Brenda Piper and Caroline Rogers first started selling books,
they set up their roving shop wherever they might find customers.
Years later, they are not only selling books, they are also promoting
the authors who write them.
Piper and Rogers, the founders of C & B Books Distribution, help self
published authors reach readers in a variety of ways, but the pair's
signature event is the Queens Book Fair, which will be held on
Saturday, Aug. 19 in Jamaica's Rufus King Park, on Jamaica Avenue
between 150th and 153rd streets. This year, more than 50 authorsall
of whom are without publishing contractsare expected to gather in
the park to hawk their books to passerbys. Writers are coming from as
far as Miami and Los Angeles to participate.
While the book fair grows in popularity, Piper and Rogers are also
gathering a roster of quality self published authors from all over
the East Coast. For a nominal fee of $150, C & B helps authors with
all the technical publishing details that would otherwise keep an
underground book from reaching readers. "We know how hard it is for
them to sell and promote their books," Piper said.
The pair contacts bookstores, sets up signings and readings at local
malls, and even helps authors design their own covers. They take the
authors on tour and use their publicity skills to introduce new books
to stores, particularly African American booksellers, from New York
to Atlanta. "We write a lot of people and let them know what's coming
out," Rogers said. The company also provides new authors with advice
on avoiding unscrupulous printers and finding the right book fairs to
Piper and Rogers have a rigorous process for determining whether they
will take on an author. First, the writer turns in an application
with his or her text. The book is reviewed by any one of the six
reviewers employed by the company. Only after the book gets a
positive review will the company offer its publicity talents.
In an effort to reach as many people as possible, the company
features its authors on its Web site: www.cbbooksdistribution.com.
Each of the company's 15 clients has a page on the site complete with
a photo, a short biography, and descriptions of their books.
Customers can buy the texts directly from the site.
The company, which once ran two bookstores but is now operated from
home, has already had several success stories. Piper said many former
clients have moved on to deals at large publishing houses.
"It's great to walk into Barnes and Noble and say `Hey, there goes my
author,'" she said.
The 2nd Annual Queens Bookfair will take place on Saturday, August 19
from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. in Rufus King Park at the corner of Jamaica
Avenue and 153rd Street. Authors interested in participating can call
(718) 591 4525 or visit the Web site: www.queensbookfair.com.