Manistee’s first Book Expo a success

The first-ever Book Expo Manistee was deemed a success, with about 30 authors talking with readers and signing books on Saturday afternoon. (Michelle Graves/News Advocate)

The first-ever Book Expo Manistee was deemed a success, with about 30 authors talking with readers and signing books on Saturday afternoon. (Michelle Graves/News Advocate)

MANISTEE — About 30 authors, along with representatives from Michigan Point Press and Michigan Writers Series took part in the first-ever Book Expo Manistee on Saturday.

“We’re thrilled to have writers from 15 to 20 different genres: fiction, nonfiction, mystery, romance, memoir. They’re all here, and they’re all anxious to talk to the reading public,” said John Wemlinger. “All of these authors are from Michigan, and 90 percent of them are from this part of the mitten. So it’s a pretty local event.”

Wemlinger is one of the founding members of the Manistee Writers’ Group, which organized the event held in the ballroom at the Ramsdell Theatre.

About 30 authors from 15 to 20 different genres were at the Book Expo Manistee on Saturday in the ballroom at the Ramsdell Theatre. (Michelle Graves/News Advocate)

About 30 authors from 15 to 20 different genres were at the Book Expo Manistee on Saturday in the ballroom at the Ramsdell Theatre. (Michelle Graves/News Advocate)

Authors signed books and door prizes were given away frequently throughout the event.

“As a group, a writer’s community, to get this many writers in one room and to be able to exchange ideas and thoughts, that’s an important part of this event,” said Wemlinger.

The expo coincided with other weekend events taking place in downtown Manistee on Saturday, and some of that traffic meandered up Maple Street to the Book Expo.

“I think most of the writers would say what a great opportunity to come and talk to other people that share the interest that I personally have in this thing called writing,” Wemlinger said. “The comments I’ve gotten from the folks that have stopped at my table have been, ‘What a great event. There’s every kind of literature available in this room to look at and choose from. Thanks for bringing it to Manistee.’”

The National Writers Series, out of Traverse City, brings national known writers to the stage at the Traverse City Opera House. Office manager Cindy Weaver said another goal is encouraging writing in general.

“We like to bring authors in, and we have a section called Raising Writers,” she said. “We have several youth programs, so we raise money to promote our youth writing programs. We want to encourage as much writing as possible.”

On the publishing end, Doug Weaver, general partner of Michigan Point Press, said it is important to talk with readers.

“Both writers and publishers are notorious for sitting in dark rooms and publishing our books and not really getting out and talking to readers,” said Weaver. “These are really great opportunities for feedback for us as a company that helps authors self publish. It’s a great way to meet potential writers who might have an interest in needing what we do. It’s a good opportunity.”

Wemlinger said now that the Manistee Writers’ Group, a group that only began six months ago, has proved it can do something of this magnitude, the goal is to improve the event.

“We want to work on refining it, making it bigger, making it better, and being able to draw more people in each subsequent year that we do this thing,” Wemlinger said. “We’ve already taken some notes on what’s worked and what’s not worked. Every time you do something for the first time there are going to be some things that you need to fix for the following year.”

The Manistee Writers’ Group is open to anyone who has an interest in writing. The group meets at 6 p.m. on the first and third Monday of the month at First Congregational Church in Manistee. Find more information by searching Manistee Writers’ Group on Facebook.

 

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Posted by Michelle Graves

Michelle is the managing editor of the Manistee News Advocate. You can reach her at (231) 398-3106 or mgraves@pioneergroup.com.

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