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A writer’s guide to tabling at literary festivals

Avoid gimmicks (and build community) through conversation and book sales.

Tabling at literary festivals. Photo by Rihardzz/Shutterstock, illustrations by Jaron Cote

Most of us have attended a literary festival, whether it’s a dozen authors selling their books in a community center or a hundred at an event like the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books. I’ve seen writers attract readers using giant bowls of candy, with fortune cookies that reflect their book’s theme, with costumes and props. Once I saw a poet pace the aisles wearing a sandwich board that read, “Ask me about my poetry!”

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