This is part of the "how come I do so well at fairs," and maybe it can help another author. When autumn came in Topeka, I was always ready for the fair.
Yes, I love the fairs. It's been a life-time love affair.
When other writers or interested fans ask me why I do so well signing books for people at fairs, I can only come up with two or three reasons, depending on how your count my reasoning.
And, that just loving the fairs could be my number one reason. I was taught to despite all their crowding, shuffle, hawking and dirt. For most of my early life, the old Kansas Free Fair at Topeka, which later had a name change to the Mid-America Fair, was our family vacation off the farm. I looked forward to it as much or more than Christmas or my birthday.
It affected my sociological and politcal outlooks. When it was the Free Fair, we referred to it as so, and it was like our fair. It was evidence that we lived in a place where the government was of the people, that it looked out for us, and cared about us even to the extent of our daily affairs and entertainment. When a gate charge came with the name change of the fair, it was only referred to thereafter as the fair, and somehow government had become mean and petty, more interested in gouging us than being there for us. Ah, the attitudes gained in sweet childhood, and how they stick.
That love of the Topeka fair stuck as a love for the Kansas State Fair at Hutchinson where I am the record holder for the most books sold by a single author for Book Kansas, 424 of them now, 146 as the annual record.
I guess people can tell that I love the fair because up and down the aisles of the South Sunflower Building where I appear, the vendors know my name.
I enjoy meeting, and talking to the thousands of people who walk by the booth, too, although if you're there many days of the 10-day fair, it is tiring with a fatigue that presses the neck and shoulders.
The enjoyment of the fair for me extends to smaller county fairs when I go, and, again, I never fail to send some books home with people.
The biggest single reason I succeed in signing and selling books is that I always try to talk to as many of the people who go by as I can. I am amazed at other authors I see who sit like bumps on logs, and somehow just expect the people to come to them. They can only get away with that if they are an extremely well-known name, and for most writers, public recognition of who they are isn't that good.
When I do get recognition, nothing is sweeter. There was the man last year who stopped in the middle of the aisle at the fair, and hollered there's Burford! He was calling me by the name of a dog in one of my stories that he happened to love.
Then there was the woman who had me sign my three titles, only to stop to tell me she already had them for herself, and that these were for a gift. "You need to write more, Honey," she said. "I've already read them all twice."
Yessir, Honey, I says to myself, you can't beat the fair.