Kentucky Book Fair Now Accepting Submissions: How Can You Get In?

     Thousands of readers and writers recently attended the Southern Kentucky Book Fest (SOKY) in Bowling Green. Book fairs are always a joy—a chance to explore new titles, meet favorite authors, and connect with other people who are passionate about the written word.

     SOKY is one of two major book events held in the commonwealth; each is attended by more than 100 authors and thousands of readers. The other big book event is the Kentucky Book Fair, presented by the Kentucky Humanities Council and scheduled for November 17 in Lexington.

     Because these are wildly popular events and great opportunities to sell books, authors are eager to attend, but participation is by invitation only. The Kentucky Book Fair author selection committee is now accepting submissions from authors for this year’s event.

     So how can authors get in the door? First: follow the rules. Every book fair has selection guidelines; follow the submission instructions exactly and don’t apply if you don’t qualify. The Kentucky Book Fair selection committee seeks books published after July 1, 2017. They give special consideration to titles written by authors who are natives of or are currently living in the state of Kentucky, and/or to titles that have a clear Kentucky connection. The books must be available by September 30, 2018. Even with these constraints, many more books are submitted than can be accepted. There are a limited number of slots overall, and the committee tries to achieve a balance across genres. For example, if there are only 10 slots for cookbooks and 50 cookbook authors apply, 40 of them will be disappointed. The committee carefully considers the quality of writing and production, audience appeal, prospective sales, and other criteria.

     What do you do if you’re accepted? Do your happy dance; help promote the book fair; order business cards, bookmarks, or other marketing materials; wear comfy shoes to the book fair; and engage with readers. What do you do if your application is rejected? Grieve a little but remember that lots of other books didn’t get accepted either. Rejection is part of every author’s life; take it in stride. Get back to writing and look forward to the next year’s book fairs.

     If you would like to submit a book for the 2018 Kentucky Book Fair, go online to find guidelines, the submission form, and more. Submissions are due by May 31.

Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington is the site of 2018 Kentucky Book Fair. If you would like to attend as an author, see details on the left.

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