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Indie First Holiday Book Fair

Remember when you were young and the school would hold a book fair?  Wandering around the gymnasium with your order form, dazed by all the choices laid out on folding tables. The order form went home for review by your parents who then wrote a check and promised you would have your books for Christmas.

I ran this idea past Willard Williams at my local bookstore, The Toadstool (aka “the toad”), in Peterborough. Willard thought it was a great idea and wanted me to tie in with the “INDIES FIRST” event being promoted nationally by the American Booksellers Association (ABA).  Award winning author, poet and filmmaker Sherman Alexie is calling on all authors to “be a superhero for independent bookstores.” He asked writers to support “shop local” efforts and work a day for their favorite local bookstore.  The national “INDIES FIRST” day is Saturday, November 30th. We had a conflict with that day so chose December first instead.

My initial outreach was an email list from Willard of local authors and illustrators.  From there, others made suggestions, and before I knew it there were over 20 authors eager to spend the afternoon signing their books and meeting with fans. The exciting part of all this for me is meeting  literary rock stars such as our New Hampshire Poet Laureate, Alice Fogel, non-fiction writers Katrina Kenison and Elizabeth Marshall Thomas, and children’s authors Lita Judge and Meg Kearney. There are many others whose work I admire and am anxious to meet.  An email from the ABA said I have signed up an impressive array of authors and they will be running an article about the event in their national newsletter.

Eric Stanway is not only an author of fascinating books on the darker side of New England history, he is a creative genius who offered to help with the posters and advertising. We have mystery writers, naturalists and young adult authors; something for every age and taste.  All have been wonderfully helpful in responding with their bios for the press release as well as offers of help. Lord, I haven’t written a press release in a year or more!

I spent years organizing corporate events, opening ceremonies at the NASDAQ and such. Nothing has thrilled me as much as the sheer creative genius and kindness of this group. If you happen to be in the area on Sunday, December 1st from 2-4 PM, please stop by the Toadstool in Depot Square. The assembled talent will stun you and you might just find the perfect holiday gift in a signed copy of your favorite author.


9 comments on “Indie First Holiday Book Fair

  1. alinekaplan says:

    Great idea, Martha! The first books I ever bought were at a high school book fair. They were paperback copies of Spartacus by Howard Fast, I Robot by Isaac Asimov and The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury. Many years and thousands of books later, I still have them.


  2. Touring NH says:

    What a wonderful event you are creating! And to have the ABA run a story about it…fantastic!!!!


  3. We had a Borders bookstore in keene for a while but I never went into it. I was afraid it was going to put Toadstool out of business but thankfully that didn’t happen. I’m usually at Toadstool at least once a week-it’s a great store and they have found many out of print books for me. I’m glad that you’re doing this for them!


  4. mariekeates says:

    What a great idea. Wish I could be there


  5. What a fabulous event. I’d give my left lung to join you. Brava on organizing something so vital and important!


    1. Thank you, it’s good for the indie bookstores and the authors. A win-win for everyone including the consumer.


  6. Honored to be part of this event, Martha! Thanks for all your prep & to Eric for the wonderful poster. I can’t wait to meet all of you on Sunday & hand-sell all of our books. ~Sandra


    1. Thanks Sandra, I am so excited by the response from authors such as yourself. This is going to be great!!


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