Don't get me wrong, this was a tough one, but oh my, what an incredible day!
At first, when I first approached the Hay-On-Why bookfair, one of the biggest bookfairs in the world, asking if there was any spaces left, it didn't look too good. They assured me that they would let me know if anything came up, but I wasn't sure if I would hear back from them again.
Then, I got an email from one of the people running the bookfair, letting me know there was still a few sponsors available, a ticket sponsor, and a stall! I was over the moon, but realistically I could not financially afford all three options.
Being a fan of the thriller/crime genre, I just knew I had to sponsor Elly Griffiths, Stig Abell, and Mick Herron at the event! I also opted for the ticket sponsor, which meant that the RomaReads Publishing logo would be on all tickets for all events!
When we arrived, we were escorted into the green room and given lanyards. I tried my absolute best to make it look like I did this sort of thing every day, though it probably came across as the opposite. You know when you see someone, and you think, 'I know that person from somewhere...', well, imagine an entire ROOM of people who inspire that feeling. Everyone looked famous, though how exactly I can't explain.
I was aware I didn't do this sort of thing every day, and that it was new to me, but as corny as it sounds I love new experiences, and I honestly enjoyed every minute of it. I also caught a glance at Margret Atwood, and my dear mum got to meet Chris, Kate, and Jet, her absolute idols. And really, even if everything else had gone wrong, the fact mum was super happy and was able to have a chat with them would have made it all worthwhile.
(A screenshot from back when we first announced this on our website's homepage!)
We got a tour of the festival, with everything explained to us, and we then went into the green room again to wait to be taken to our sponsored event. After a bit of time, they reappeared, with a free signed book of The Last Word by Elly Griffiths (which of course went to mum, considering how badly she wanted her new book!), and then we were lead into the event hall through a special corridor.
When we walked into the hall, oh my GOD-
There were hundreds of faces staring at us. We had reserved seats near the front of the hall, so we moved towards them, and my heart leapt when I saw in my peripheral the RomaReads Publishing logo, right there! Right in front of us! And it stayed on screen for the entire duration of the event. I honestly thought it would be shown in a slideshow towards the end for a few seconds and then disappear, so I kept staring at mum with an expression of...something. I can't describe it. Just a happiness, an anticipation, and a wonder about everything happening.
'This was quite surreal seeing RomaReads Publishing on stage with all these estbalished authors. A funny, insightful, and engaging talk, and that hour just flew by!
For a hot minute, the 9 hour car drive, the lack of anywhere to stay, and the sheer financial risk it was for such a small publisher to take part in, there was serious doubt as to whether or not this would go ahead. But somehow, it all worked out, and I'm so glad it did, because it really was an incredible experience to be a part of, and the town of Hay-On-Wye was so beautiful, I can't wait to go back! <3