Grace Mellman Community Library hosts first book fair for local authors

A book fair for local authors was held for the first time at the Grace Mellman Community Library in Temecula on July 12.  The three-hour Saturday afternoon event took place in the library’s Community Room and featured 21 authors from around the Inland Empire.

The library’s Adult Services Coordinator Elizabeth Khaled organized the fair.  “I got the idea for the Local Author Book Fair because I get approached to do author signings here at the library all the time,” she said.  “I thought instead of having just one author it might be more interesting to have many authors.”

Khaled invited authors who had approached her about book signings and asked local writing groups if any of their writers wanted to participate. To participate the authors had to have at least one book published in print or e-book format.  

“I accepted those I thought would represent the community and a wide range of genres appropriately,” Khaled said.  “We do have some of the authors’ books, and after the event some of the authors donated other books.”

Tables were set up for authors to sit at and display their books. Each author addressed the public for 10 minutes about their books and background. Some also shared writing and publishing tips.  

Murrieta resident and Press-Enterprise newspaper columnist Carl Love spoke first.  He talked about his self-published book “From Two Lanes to the Fast Lane: Stories of Change in America from Temecula and Murrieta.”

 Love’s book is a compilation of his best columns since 1988.   “I took 2,000 articles and whittled it down to my greatest hits,” he said. The book came out last November and has sold 450 copies so far. It’s his first book.

Love said he’s been happy with his self-publishing experience and may write another book someday. “I’ve made my money back and made a $500 profit,” he said. He used Amazon’s CreateSpace to print his book and highly recommends it for self-publishing.

Hemet author George Gurney promoted his four books at the fair. He agrees with Love that CreateSpace is a great way to publish books. He sold two books at the fair. His bestselling books are “Guatemala One, A Journal of the First Peace Corps Project” and “Brick Manly’s Cookbook for the Culinarily Challenged.”

Khaled said that people who attended the fair were keen to meet the authors and ask questions about writing, self-publishing, getting an agent, e-book formats and traditional publishing.

Temecula resident Ronni Brown attended and enjoyed talking to authors because she does screenwriting. She was especially intrigued with author Mary D. Scott from Apple Valley and her book “Spirit Driven Events.” Brown said the fair was an inspiring event for others who want to write and she hopes the library will offer it again.

Khaled wants to make the fair an annual event.  However, next time she said she›ll invite fewer authors so the fair is easier to coordinate and authors have sufficient time to mingle with the public and each other.  

“This was my first time doing a program like this, and I have learned so much.  I met many wonderful authors, and I hope to grow the community’s interest in them for future events,” Khaled said.  “I was able to shine a spotlight on the many talented writers in our community, and I hope to meet many more.  The Inland Empire has so much to offer artistically, and in my small way I wanted to showcase it.”

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