The Inside Scoop with Kate Tilton
"How Literary Professionals Can Make the Most of Attending DBF"

Jul 28, 2016

Every other week, the DBF will have a different literary blogger share their “Inside Scoop” on various tracks, authors, and opportunities that will be at #dbf2016. Stay tuned for these curated sneak peaks into all the magic at this year’s festival!


Are you an author? Or maybe you are a freelance editor or another publishing professional. If so, you need to be at the AJC Decatur Book Festival (DBF).

DBF is a free annual book festival hosted in downtown Decatur (a suburb of Atlanta) and it has EVERYTHING. From food trucks and booths of all colors and stripes to author stages for all sorts of genres and ages. You will find something to love about this festival. One year I even brought one of my “non-reader” type friends and he had a blast.

So if you are a reader (and if you are reading this I’m guessing you are) you’ll love this festival of books. Not only is this festival a great place to bask in the love of books, it is also a perfect place to network.

As with many festivals, authors and other businesses pay a small fee to acquire a booth of their very own where they can sell and sign books, hand out information, and talk to potential customers. If you have the cash for this I highly recommend giving it a shot, but if you are strapped for cash (or maybe don’t have enough vacation time to come for the whole festival to make such a purchase worthwhile) have no fear DBF is still an amazing opportunity for your business.

Here are my top tips for promoting your business at DBF the right way.

If you are an author these are the steps you’ll want to take to promote yourself without going against festival rules. Before the event prepare business cards, bookmarks, postcards, etc. and remember to take these with you. While at the festival take some time to visit each author/business booth that is set up (there are PLENTY) and network with your fellow authors. You won’t make sales this way but you can make friends and who knows where those relationships can take you and your books! Once you have enjoyed networking with your peers venture out and attend some author talks and signings. Signing lines are a great place to talk with fellow readers, just make sure you don’t push your book on them. Instead aim to bring up the fact that you are also an author only if it comes up naturally in conversation, when it does feel free to offer a bookmark to an interested reader. Just remember, focus on the relationships first. After the event take some time to email those you exchanged business cards with, like I said, you never know where those new relationships will take you.

If you are a publishing professional your journey will be much the same as an authors. Before the event you’ll want to be sure to prepare your business cards or other promotional material (like a fancy pen perhaps). While at the event take some time to visit each booth and strike up a conversation. Most of the time you’ll find what you do for a living comes up pretty naturally in the conversation and you can exchange information with authors and other professionals. Some may turn out to be clients while others may be new friends in the business (and you can never have too many of those). Once you have enjoyed visiting the booths you can enjoy the author speaking events and signings, chat with your fellow readers in line, and enjoy meeting amazing authors (some of who might be super interested in your blog). Just remember no one likes someone who is pushing their own agenda, so let things happen naturally! After the event you’ll want to follow up with those you exchanged information with.

If you come prepared, are respectful, and genuinely want to connect with authors, readers, and other publishing professionals, DBF is an amazing opportunity for you.

And did I mention, it is FREE?

Yep, that’s right, the AJC Decatur Book Festival is completely free to attend, so you have no excuse not to check it out.

See you there!

Kate Tilton has been in love with books for as long as she can remember. A relatively new voice in publishing, Kate has been serving authors behind the scenes since 2010. Founder of Kate Tilton’s Author Services, LLC, Kate works as an author assistant and speaker with the mission of connecting authors and readers. Kate is the creator and host of #K8chat (Thursdays at 9pm Eastern on Twitter) and has appeared on popular media such as Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, The Book Designer, Kobo Writing Life and Rafflecopter. A cat-lover and fan of many geeky things, Kate can likely be found curled up with the latest Doctor Who episode, plotting world takeover, or connecting authors and readers in any way she can. You can find Kate on katetilton.com.