Word on the Street 2014

For the second year in a row, I rented a booth at Toronto’s Word on the Street festival in order to sell my children’s fantasy novel, More Precious Than Rubies: The Return of the Norse Gods.

The morning started unpromisingly as the rain teemed down, drenching my set-up table and my chair and making the situation of organizing my books almost impossible. Plus, the booths are so small with sheets of sturdy plastic separating them that the people behind me kept pushing in on me.

Things got slightly more optimistic as the rain gamely went away by opening time, allowing us hot, dry weather. I learned later that this weather was against me, too. My booth faced west and I was basting all afternoon.


I made my first sale early. A woman, also a self-publisher, was advised by publishing authorities that she should be reading five children’s books (picture books) a day in order to understand the genre, get to know writing techniques, and then write her own, based upon her findings. Therefore, she was on a buying rampage and decided to buy my book although it’s not a picture book.

There were two self-published authors to my right, trying to sell their books. We got to know each other and discussed our tribulations regarding the time and money we inject into our work. We traded books, mine for theirs, so I count these as sales.

My fourth sale was to a fellow Canscaiper of mine (Canadian Society of Children’s Authors, Illustrators, and Performers). He said that he was immersed in a lot of projects at the moment and did not have much time for reading. He hemmed and hawed for a long time, perusing the book, then finally decided he would buy it. I thanked him for his support but consider this a sympathy buy.

So, really, I figure I only had one legitimate sale. I had a long way to come out ahead but it rarely happens.

Another man was going to buy the book but when he found out I was a teacher, he said, “Oh, I was going to help you out but you’re a teacher. You make good money.”

I’m sure he meant it sincerely.


About randycoates

Randy Coates graduated from the University of Waterloo with a bachelor of arts degree and went on to acquire his teacher’s certificate at the University of Western Ontario. He is currently an elementary teacher in the Toronto District Board of Education.
This entry was posted in Literacy, Publishing, Writing and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Word on the Street 2014

  1. Lorie says:

    Enjoyed the MPTR book and left a reader comment on iUniverse. Had my own work ripped to shreds at the writer’s group but all comments are valid and helpful. Actually I’m writing a chapter book (no pictures) so I have been reading five 200 to 300 page long juvenile books each week.

    • randycoates says:

      Thanks, Lorie. I have kept my notes about the Toronto Writers’ Co-op and may sign up in the future. Sorry to hear about the criticism of your book but we do learn something from it. Do you belong to a Writer’s Club? It was suggested to me to join one.

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