The Independent Author

Independent Authors Book Expo 2021

May 30, 2021 Tom Kranz Season 2 Episode 7
The Independent Author
Independent Authors Book Expo 2021
Show Notes Transcript

A preview of the upcoming Independent Authors Book Expo on August 7, 2021, in Roselle, NJ. Organizer Renaee Smith, founder of the Independent Author Book Experience, talks about her non-profit support activities for self-published authors and gives a preview of the expo for those who'd like to just show up and those who would like to exhibit.

Support the show (https://www.buymeacoffee.com/tkbooks)

Tom Kranz:

Hello, everybody, and welcome back to the independent author podcast. I'm Tom Kranz your host. And as always, I appreciate you downloading my episodes on subscribing. Today, my guest is Renaee Smith, Renaee is the, I guess the founder and the person who runs a nonprofit called the independent authors book experience. And they have a she has a website iabx.org, which we're going to talk about shortly. And the reason this just is so perfect for this podcast is Renee's group, specifically, is a support group for lack of a better term, I guess, for independent authors and self published authors. She's based in New Jersey, but I'm guessing, Renaee, that you've got members and and people from all over the all over the region, correct?

Renaee Smith:

Yes, that's correct. Yes.

Tom Kranz:

And so tell me a little bit about yourself and how you came to do this.

Renaee Smith:

Okay, well, good. Hi to everyone that's listening. And I just want to say thank you to Tom for the invite to be on his podcast, I really appreciate that. Just so you know, I'm also an independent author, I started out writing cookbooks in 2011. And I started publishing. And what I realized really quickly was, as an independent author, without the backing of a big name publishing house, it was very expensive, and almost, you weren't able to get into a lot of the events, and they were very costly. So I decided to create an event for independent authors that was inexpensive for them to be able to share their works with a larger audience than they would normally get on their own, because they don't have the resources to do that. And so far, we've had, as Tom mentioned, we have our book Expo, we're in our eighth year. And we've, we've grown significantly since we've started from the first year, where we started with 15, authors to 2019, where we had 65 authors and vendors representing representing over 20 states in the United States. So we've grown in leaps and bounds helping independent authors get their names out there.

Tom Kranz:

So this group, this, this event, has actually grown beyond just New Jersey, these these folks are actually coming from all over to come to this.

Renaee Smith:

Absolutely. You know, where they've come from as far as Florida. And as far as Colorado, New Hampshire. We've had people from even last year in our virtual space, we had someone an author from India. So we are that we're almost international at this point. But we have even this year, we have people coming from Maryland, North Carolina, you know, so they're traveling and Texas to be here at our event.

Tom Kranz:

Oh, that's amazing. Um, this will be my first year too. I know last year, you kind of did a virtual version of this event because of COVID. Correct?

Renaee Smith:

Yes, that's correct.

Tom Kranz:

But I guess there's really no substitute for having, you know, being able to go table to table and talking to other authors and, you know, hopefully selling a couple books here and there. Um, so, yeah, I'll be looking forward to what is the venue where physically is this going to be?

Renaee Smith:

So this year, the event is being hosted in Roselle (NJ). It's a 210 Chestnut Street, it's the the public, the Borough Hall parking lot. So it's an open space, it's attended event for the authors. And the attendees can just walk in and browse and see all the books. This year due to the CDC guidelines, we have actually limited the number of authors that will, we'll be participating to 30. So you will have 30 authors and vendors that you can peruse books from all different genres, children's books, cookbooks, inspirational calendars, books, nonfiction fiction, you name it, it's going to be there at the book Expo.

Tom Kranz:

That sounds really cool. And this happens on August 7th.

Unknown:

Correct, August 7, from 11am to 5pm. We also have a children's corner. So if you have your little ones, they can come we have arts and crafts, we have free giveaway book giveaways from them that are donated by scholastics. And we also have items donated by one of our sponsors, Columbia Bank. So we have a lot of things that are going to be available for the children and the adults. And we also have author readings. So the authors in the children's corner, the children will actually meet the authors who write the books, which is such a fascinating thing for them. They just pop out when they see that you wrote the book. Wow. And then they start asking you a bunch of questions. Since which, you know, help people to I find that they've helped me to write in other books because he's like, Did he have a brother? Like No, but I think the next one will. next book well, so it's just amazing.

Tom Kranz:

That's great. So, before I forget, I want to just let people know that To find out more information about about registering for this and I guess if you're only limiting it to 30 author's people better get on the stick and do it soon. But your website is iabx.org. That's iabx.org. And there's not only I mean, the first thing you see is basically a place to register for this. But you have a lot of other author services. Here, you have a place where people can add themselves to a list of authors, you have various other services that you offer to talk about that real quick.

Renaee Smith:

Yeah, so as an independent author, we try to be a full service, organization and a nonprofit. And what we do is we have monthly spotlights for authors. So if you want to be in a spotlight for a month, you there's a small fee for that, we have author spotlights, we have book, spotlights, we also have an author directory. So if you'd like to get your name and your books into directory, because what we want to do is to be able to have readers just connect with our site, and they is listed by genre. So they can just go to a genre, see the author they want and click on them. It takes them to whatever website or, or page that you'd like them to go to. And there's all that information about you, they will they can purchase your books. We also do book reviews, and we have a lot of things on the website that we're introducing. We also have a if you're an individual who is not yet an author, but has a desire to write, we have our writers group, where you can we meet every Monday right here on zoom, where you can interact with other writers who are looking to publish. So far, we've had four individuals published through our group. And it's just a very, we are we call ourselves accountability partners, because we are here to support each other. And we, you know, critique, we are like beta readers like, okay, you know, why did you say that? Why did you read this. So we have that support in our writers group. On our monthly we have our author speaks. So if you want to, if you have a new book coming out of you've published your book several years ago, or whatever it is the timeframe, we have our author speaks, and each month is a different genre. So you have the opportunity to share your work, we do it over zoom. So and we live streaming, so we've had authors from Maryland, Virginia, who have participated, so we're not just look located in New Jersey, again, we're national and international when we deal with the authors that support our organization.

Tom Kranz:

So it sounds like your your group here is basically an all purpose kind of full service support nonprofit for independent authors and self published authors. It's, you do a little bit of everything, either for free or for nominal fees, which is I mean, I really haven't seen that anyplace else and I spent a lot of time cruising the internet, believe me, for stuff and I when I found that this is our you know, I live in New Jersey, really just a few towns from Roselle where you're based, I found this was really a great resource here. Tell me just a little bit about the kinds of books you've written. You've written as, and I'm, I'm guessing you also have a day job correct? Yes. Yeah, we all have a day job which pays the bills, but I guess I real passion is getting behind the computer and writing what kind of have you written.

Renaee Smith:

So when I started off writing, I started writing cookbooks. So I have two cookbooks, one of which was actually an international award winning cookbook member when so I have Jamaica's forgotten treats. I have member when the Jamaican cookbook that takes you takes you on a trip down the middle Me mory Lane, and then I veered off into children's books. I have five children's books right now. The Great Compost Heap and it's a Freddy series, The Great Compost Heap, Freddy's First Race, Freddy Goes to the Beach, Freddy's Good Deeds a nd the last but not least is Who Turned the Lights Out. And this one is a it pays homage to I work with the homeless. So I'm the Director of Development of a nonprofit in here in New Jersey. And that book really just gave a introduce his children in a non threatening way to homelessness, what it is and what how you what you can do to help. So all my books, my children's books really have a message, my Freddy series. My goal is to entertain, inform and inspire. So each of the book has a message. The Geat Compost Heap, he talks about recycling using kitchen and garden waste, Freddy's first race talks about perseverance. Freddy Goes to the Beach talks about family. Freddy's Good Deeds, of course talks about doing good things for others, not because you're expecting something in return, but because it's the right thing to do. And last but not least, is my inspirational calendar. So I kind of do a lot of different genres, but they have a similar theme,

Tom Kranz:

Where are your books available? Where can people get them?

Renaee Smith:

So my books are available on my website at renaeesmith.com. That's renaeesmith.com are they're available also on Amazon, and a few of them are on Barnes and Noble.

Tom Kranz:

So if somebody goes on Amazon and just searches your name, which and let's spell that again, because I'm sur e nobody ever misspells your name, that's RENAEE SMITH, common spelling Renaee Smith, if they search that name, your books will come up on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Renaee Smith:

Yes, they will. Definitely on all of them will be on Amazon. Okay.

Tom Kranz:

And your your website again is RenaeeSmith.com.

Renaee Smith:

Yes, that's correct.

Tom Kranz:

All right. And one more time, I'm going to do a plug for your the organization's website iabx.org. The Independent Authors Book Experience, which is as I said, if you're self published, you're an independent or thinking about it, it's really a great place to start. One last time. Renee, tell us about the book Expo coming up in August, just kind of the basic info about it.

Renaee Smith:

Okay, so just so you know, again, the book Expo, it's a free event. Let me get that out there. It's free for the attendees so you can come on down. It's Saturday, August 7, from 11am to 5pm. It's at the Roselle Borough Hall parking lot at 210 Chestnut Street in Roselle (NJ), we're going to have a bevy of authors spanning different genres. We have a children's corner for your children, free books, giveaways, promotional items. We'll also have author readings, we'll also have some of the other authors participating. So it's really is a family friendly event. Bring yourself bring your children, even if you want to bring your pets come on down. We're following all the CDC guidelines. So we have swag bags that are giveaways, promotional items, so it's going to be a fun day for everyone.

Tom Kranz:

Yeah, sounds great. So it's free for people to just show up. But just to clarify, if you want to display there, if you want to exhibit there is there is a fee because I guess you need to offset the I guess you get a table and a couple of chairs and there's the space and but and if you want to you better do it fast if we're only talking about 30 author's faces right now.

Renaee Smith:

Yes, we're down to 10 space.

Tom Kranz:

Oh, good. That was That was quick. Well, I'm one of the 20, who signed up early. I'm going to be there too. So anybody listening who wants to say hello to me and talk about my podcast, maybe becoming a guest or promoting something. I'll be there too. Renaee Smith, eally appreciate you joining me here. And for anybody listening, check out iabx.org for more information on everything we've been talking about here, Renaee, I'll see you on August 7.

Renaee Smith:

Likewise, thank you Tom, and thank you very much again for the opportunity. Y

Tom Kranz:

You bet. Thanks for coming by.

Announcer:

Great stories. Great reads. Great audio books. Visit TomKranzBooks.com for unique and compelling stories in paperback, ebook and audio book. That's Tom Kranz Books tomkranzbooks.com. You deserve a great escape!