For as much as I felt “Zoomed out” last Spring, I’ve been loving how connected I’ve felt to the literary community lately. This past week’s SMOL Fair was no exception. SMOL Fair is an online book fair for small presses, created because most indie publishers felt AWP was charging too much for a virtual fair. SMOL Fair was completely free for vendors and participants, publishers had killer deals, and there were tons of giveaways going on.
It felt great to discover small presses I wasn’t familiar with and blow my budget to support them and their authors. I have about fifteen books coming my way, and I’m excited for the bookmail and the chance to read new authors and experimental forms.
There were also dozens of readings being hosted last week and over the weekend, which gave me even more of a chance to find new authors and connect with them. Even though the event was entirely online (specifically Zoom and Twitter), I was able to network with other presses, authors, and even a few librarians who want to help bridge the gap between indie publishers and library systems.
I have to admit, it made me miss my previous ALA Conference experiences; there’s nothing like going from booth to booth and making connections and picking up new books. The antisocial side of me loved that I was able to remain in the comfort of my own home and sign on and off as I pleased. I also can’t deny how nice it was to not have to pay for travel, lodging, and conference admission. Definitely a mixed bag of excitement and nostalgia, but overall the fair was an amazing success and I’m excited to see how it develops in the years to come since it was so accessible.