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Braving Ann Arbor Book Fairs

Today Ann Arbor, tomorrow, THE WORLD (this is not a local book fair, obviously)

In spite of having authored or co-authored several books, a couple of optioned screenplays, and a lot of magazine and web articles, I’ve never thought of myself (and still don’t) as a writer. That’s why I recently decided to do more writerly things, like exploring some of the many writers’ groups Ann Arbor has to offer. On the other hand, I DO think of myself as a media content creator and publisher, which is why it’s a little odd that for some time now, I’ve loathed the idea of attending book fairs, festivals, and conventions. Hitting the book fair and convention circuits is a no-brainer if you actually want to market your books and create a presence as a publisher, but like many authors or indy publishers, I convince myself that I don’t have the time to attend book fairs and conventions, or make some other excuses. I’m a big fan of challenging my own comfort zone, so I’ve decided to change that.

Fortunately for me, I live in Ann Arbor, so there are a few established book fairs right in my back yard. So that’s where I’ll start. We’ve already done some homework on this; if you’re interested in checking out the local book fairs yourself, we’ve compiled a list here. My pick for easing myself into this will be the Ann Arbor Book Festival ( The festival takes place over three days, and consists of three parts: a Moonlight Book Crawl, a Street Fair, and a Writer’s Conference. I’m not sure I’ll survive a “book crawl”; it somehow conjures images of staggering from book store to book store drunk on literacy, but I’ll have to give it a go. As a content creator, the street fair will actually be of more interest to me, but there’s no information on the AABF website about how to participate as a vendor/publisher. We’ll follow up if we can get details on how the vendors are selected. And the workshops on the last day dovetail nicely with my new plan of exploring local writing groups, so that’s perfect. They also have a Meetup page, by the way

The AABF is usually in June, but there’s one other Ann Arbor book fair on my radar, and that’s the Kerrytown Bookfest ( It takes place on September 11 this year, and runs from 11am to 5pm, which is, frankly, the main reason I’ve missed it so many years running. It sneaks by too quickly! This book fair at Kerrytown has a much more local focus than the Ann Arbor Book Festival, so I’ll be especially interested in attending and making some contacts. As of this writing, it appears to be too late to participate effectively; the exhibitor registration page says “Exhibitor Registration is now closed”. We sent an email about possible late registration, but haven’t heard back yet. We’ll update this post if we hear back from them.

The only other notable local fair is the Ann Arbor Antiquarian Book Fair, which is a great event, but doesn’t sync with my needs as a fledgling author and publisher, so next up will be (gulp) researching book fairs, festivals, and conventions around the state and beyond. Stay tuned!