Authors who are "Differently Expertised"...

Authors who are "Differently Expertised"...

08 September 2013

The ALL-ZONA Book Festival is coming!

Tucson is a writers' town. We've had a slew of well-known authors live and work here. Barbara Kingsolver, Larry McMurtry, Ray Bradbury, JA Jance, Andrew Weil, Michael Blake, and more have all lived here, at least for a time. Arizona, in fact, has a ton of published authors--but you probably haven't heard of most of them.

If all these authors live around here, why aren't they showcased at the Tucson Festival of Books? Well, some are, but most aren't. It has to do with the rapid expansion of the TFB from a small festival celebrating the local writing scene into one of the nation's largest book events. Big means more famous authors, more draw, more publicity--and the locals have been pretty much relegated to an afterthought. Locals who are not published with one of the Big Five national houses (Harper Collins, Simon & Schuster, Penguin, Random House, and Macmillan) are invited to pay to participate in the "Authors' Pavilion" -- a two-hour stint in a tent usually in the back near Bear Down Gym. The event has become so huge, two hours isn't long enough to walk through it, especially considering the parking situation.

Don't get me wrong, the TFB is an incredibly wonderful event. But authors published by small regional publishers or those who have independently published their work have become less welcome to participate on panels and have scheduled meet-and-greet signing times. Options are to sign in bookstore booths such as Mostly Books Bookstore, different writing groups, or purchase a booth--which, let me tell you, is nowhere near cheap.

So we Gecko Gals have banded with Mostly Books to showcase Arizona's wordsmiths at the inaugural All-Zona Book Fest. Scheduled for Sunday November 17, 2013 at the Sheraton Tucson Hotel and Suites at 5151 East Grant Road in their Sabino Ballroom, it will run from 10AM till 4PM. We hope to get a good number of authors for readers to meet in a more intimate and relaxed setting--with closer parking. Numerous authors from Phoenix, Sierra Vista, Oro Valley, Tombstone, and of course Tucson will be there. We're hoping some prominent authors will join us as their schedule permits, so keep the mojo and good vibes coming that they can because they will definitely draw an audience. As the time nears we'll share the entire list with you right here, so watch this space!

And if you're an author who lives in AZ at least part of the year, please email us (  for information and a registration form.


Janni Lee Simner said...

As a point of accuracy, the Tucson Festival of Books is very much not limited to "big 5" authors, and highlights writers from many small and mid sized and university presses. The authors pavilion is primarily for self-published authors, who are indeed not highlighted by the main book festival. But there's a vast and vibrant array of local and national writers who are quite welcome from a wide range of presses, and surely a new book festival (always a good thing) can be promoted without trying to stir up an "us versus the big 5" sentiment which is, in this case, highly inaccurate.

Jude Johnson said...

Thank you for your comment, Jannie. The Tucson Festival of Books (TFB)does invite many authors from university presses and mid-sized houses. Gecko Gals Ink does, indeed, participate in the TFB by purchasing a booth. Our point is that for many local authors, their publishers are too small to allow them to participate in TFB and become acquainted with the reading public.
However, I don't think it is inaccurate to quote from

"The Festival seeks to promote book sales, so priority is given to titles that are:
*Published by well-established publishing houses with which bookstores would have existing relationships (self-published or print-on-demand works, e-book formats and textbook materials do not qualify for presenting author consideration)...
Please Note:
Authors who are self-published, write strictly in e-book formats or have older titles, are encouraged to complete this form. Submitting this information ensures that you will be invited to participate in the Festival's Author Pavilion which provides a two-hour block of time in a shared tent where authors may interact with the public, sell books and autograph their publications. Invitations to register for the Author Pavilion will be emailed by mid-December."
IF you are invited to be in the Author Pavilion, your invitation will include the fee amount "payable through the Tucson Festival of Books web site as a 'Friend of the Festival' donation when you reserve your time slot."

On a business side note, many small publishers are going to the new economic model of initial ebook publication then print on demand (POD) to save costs. While this does not prevent them from selling in bookstores, it does eliminate their authors from participating in TFB.

I invite you to come by and talk with the authors at the All-Zona Book Fest.