List of Jewish Book Fairs and Festivals for Jewish Authors or Topics of Jewish Interest

Jewish Book Festival

Book festivals and fairs are held year round all over the world. As a book marketing specialist, I am the first to impress on authors the new and powerful marketing avenues open to all authors on the Internet – from websites and book trailers to social networks like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. While these are excellent tools when used properly, authors should never overlook opportunities to meet the reading public face-to-face.

If you are a Jewish author or specialize in writing about Jewish issues, you should consider visiting some of these book fairs in the Jewish community.

1. Jewish Community Center of Greater Ann Arbor. November 4 – 18, 2012. Contact Karen Freedland, Cultural Arts and Education Director, at 734-971-0990. You can also visit

2. Jewish Book Council’s Jewish Book Month will be held November 7 – December 7, 2012. Jewish Book Month is an annual event on the American Jewish calendar dedicated to the celebration of Jewish books. It is observed during the month proceeding Hanukkah, thus the exact date changes from year to year.  Click here to learn more.

3. Valley of the Sun JCC in Scottsdale, AZ will be hosting the Arizona Authors Speaker Series monthly from October to April. The event will take place on the 3rd Monday of each month from 1:30pm. Arizona contributes much to the literary world with authors and as a story setting. The Valley of the Sun JCC will be treated to appearances by authors who are either from, reside, or use Arizona as a locale for their books. The authors will speak about their life and writings. You need to be a Brandies member to join this group. Guests and JCC Members are welcome for a $5 fee. RSVP’s are required to Merrill Kalman: or 480.296.3355

4. Valley of the Sun JCC in Scottsdale, AZ will also be hosting “Exceptional” Characters in Books & Film, which is co-sponsored by CJSN. The event will take place the 2nd Wednesday of each month from 1:00-2:30pm and will be featuring books with protagonists with disabling conditions; our discussions will focus on the way the disability impacts the characters and the plot. Click here to learn more.Top Jewish Book Festivals

5. JCC of Metro Detroit’s 61st Annual Jewish Book Fair will be held November 7 – 18, 2012. At this event, fabulous authors from all over the world will present their books. For further information, contact Dalia Keen at 248.432.5467 or email or visit

6. Shalom Austin’s Austin Jewish Book Fair will be October 28 – November 4, 2012. The schedule features lectures and discussions with acclaimed writers, the annual Book Lover’s Luncheon, and an onsite bookstore in partnership with Barnes & Noble. The total cost for the Book Fair Package is: $25 JCC Member /$30 Non-member. Each individual event is: $10 JCC Member /$15 Non-member. Click here for further information.

7. St. Louis JCC’s 34th Annual St. Louis Jewish Book Festival presented by Maryville University – St. Louis will be November 4-15, 2012. All author events take place at the Staenberg Family Complex unless otherwise noted. For more information, please call the St. Louis Jewish Book Festival Hotline: 314.442.3299 or visit their website.

8. Marcus JCC Atlanta’s 21st Edition of the Book Festival of the MJCCA will be November 1-18, 2012. For 20 successful years, the Book Festival of the MJCCA has provided our community with a literary extravaganza featuring an exciting lineup of the year’s most exceptional authors, speakers, and celebrities. Please join thousands of your fellow book lovers to listen, meet, and interact with your favorite authors in a variety of forums, including author meet-and-greets, book signings, a community read, and panel discussions. Click here for more details.

9. Mandell JCC of Greater Hartford will host the 20th Annual Mandell JCC Jewish Book Festival – Celebrating Israel, Debuts, Dads & Dudes with events taking place November 18, 2012, January 23, 2013, March 16, 2013, and May 9, 2013. Click here  for complete details.

10. Columbus JCC is finalizing the fantastic 2012 line up for JCC Bookfair 2012! For more information about sponsorship contact Bookfair Director Debbie Vinocur at or 614.559.6214. Click here for updates as they become available.

11. Evelyn Rubenstein Jewish Community Center in Houston, TX will be holding their 40th Annual Jewish Book & Arts Fair from Oct 28 – Nov 11, 2012. For a calendar of events and complete brochure, click here.

12. JCC of Greater Washington will host the 43rd Annual Book Festival from November 1-11, 2012. The festival will present an exciting line-up of best-selling authors as well as up and coming writers new to the literary scene. The nine-day Festival will be packed with engaging author events, children’s programs, book signings, and a bookstore brimming with Jewish must-reads. For details, to request a Book Festival brochure, or to join the Book Festival Committee, contact the Book Festival Director Lynn Gittleson at 301.348.3840 or or click here.

13. San Diego Center for Jewish Culture will host the San Diego Jewish Book Fair 2012 from November 3 – November 11, 2012. The San Diego Jewish Book Fair is the largest and most respected Jewish Book Fair in the nation and the largest literature-related event in San Diego County. For tickets and further information, click here.

14. Mandel JCC in Beachwood, Ohio will be celebrating the 13th Annual Festival of Jewish Books & Authors from November 4-18, 2012. Stay tuned for details and a full listing of authors, which will be announced this month! For information please contact Julie Frayman at or 216.831.0700 ext. 1316. Please check here for announcements.

15. The Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee in Florida will host the Jewish Book Festival Wednesday, November 14, 2012 with a lecture and Q&A with author Lloyd Constantine. For questions, contact Len Steinberg at 941.371.4546 ext. 106 or click here.

16. JCC Dallas will host the J Book Fair October 11, 2012 – March 3, 2013. For more information, please contact Rachelle Weiss Crane at or 214.239.7128 or click here.

Book fairs typically seek out guest speakers. By volunteering to speak at a Jewish book fair, you will pique the interest of new readers and potentially gain a few new fans. Additionally, you can add the speaking appearance to your resume. Be sure to plan ahead because book fairs, speaking engagements and readings are all planned months in advance. For a complete list of book fairs and festivals visit

The bottom line: Reach out to the Jewish community and attend a book fair! You will be happy you did.

Apple Genius Manual: What Authors Can Learn

Apple Genius Manual

Apple is a category killer in computers, mobile phones, tablets and is playing an increasingly important role in publishing and selling ebooks on iTunes for the iPhone and iPad. We can all learn a lot from Apple so when their ‘Genius Manual’ was revealed recently, I found ways the info contained was applicable to authors.
The Genius Bar is the name of Apple’s in-store tech support station, which is located in Apple retail stores. The Genius Bar is the one-stop-shop for Apple users who have questions about or are having trouble with their Apple hardware or software. Can’t get your iPad to connect to WiFI? Apple’s one-on-one tech support session with a trained Apple Genius can help you fix the problem on the spot or simply better understand a product. Tech support from The Genius Bar is free of charge, but repairs and more in-depth support usually has a fee, unless your Apple product is still under warranty.

Until now, it has been a well-kept secret how Apple employees are trained and what is expected of them. Gizmodo published a portion of Apple’s “Genius Training Student Workbook,” which sheds light on how to walk, talk, and behave like the perfect Apple Genius.

Authors can take notes from Apple’s Genius Training Manual and put them into practice when promoting their work.

According to the Gizmodo article “How To Be a Genius: This Is Apple’s Secret Employee Training Manual” by Sam Biddle, “Selling is a science, summed up with five cute letters: (A)pproach, (P)robe, (P)resent, (L)isten, (E)nd.” Simply put, you should allow fans and readers alike to open up to you about their literary wants and needs, offer them choices, open lines of communication, and seal the deal with the book of your choice. Keep abreast of what people are posting on your website, social media outlets, and forums that are in keeping with your writing style or genre. You’ll be more in tune with what people want to read and you can start a dialogue with them. Reply to their comment or mention them on Twitter. This open dialogue will draw more people to your website and earn you more publicity. Once you suggest your latest book for them to read, you will have opened the door for a new fan and a new string of publicity for yourself.

Apple Geniuses “strive to inspire” so you should be doing the same. Inspire people with your work! Especially if you are an author of the self-help or lifestyle genres, you should be inspiring people with the words you write and publish. Publicize how your book has inspired people. Put quotes or stories from readers on your website, blog, and Facebook page. This will help people see that your work stands out and makes an impact on people and their lives.

As an author, you’re no stranger to critique or criticism. So there is bound to be, or more likely has already been, a time when a disgruntled reader expresses their feelings on your work. Not everyone is going to love your work, but you knew that going into writing. So, when someone sends you a negative Tweet, comment, or letter in the mail, have empathy. Do not apologize for anything you’ve written. Instead, express regret that the person is experiencing a particular emotion.

Something along the lines of, “I’m sorry you did not enjoy My Book as much as you were hoping to” or “I’m sorry you felt frustrated with the relationship between Him and Her in My Book” should suffice. You could also encourage the dissatisfied reader to give your work a second shot and suggest another book of yours that you feel is completely different from the piece they did not enjoy. However, tread lightly and be respectful of his or her opinion.

In a Forbes article titled “The Psychological Tricks Behind Apple’s Service Secrets,” author Sebastian Bailey wrote, “Give fearless feedback. Geniuses are told to engage in ‘open dialogue every day’ with ‘positive intent.’ They’re encouraged to listen to their colleagues’ interactions and give them a friendly piece of advice if they spot something going wrong.” As an author, listen to your colleagues when they give advice or constructive criticism about your writing. Also, follow Apple’s suggestion and give advice in a polite and friendly manner.

The Apple Genius Training Manual has a section titled “Emotion Portrayed through Nonverbal Gestures” which could come in handy at book signings or speaking engagements. This section of the training manual is broken down into “positive” and “negative” columns, respectively. The manual goes on to explain nonverbal gestures and their meanings. For example, a blank stare is a sign of boredom and a smile indicates openness. So, if you’re at a book signing, reading, or other speaking engagement and you notice people staring blankly or crossing their arms, change-up your speech. It’s important to keep your audience (and fans!) interested in you and your work. Keep an eye out for nonverbal gestures and keep your audience engaged. If you notice a sea of smiling faces and people nodding, you’re on the right track.

According to a CIO Magazine article titled “How Genius Is Your IT?” the Apple Genius Bar is successful because it is organized, personal, and focused. The article explains, “When you show up to a Genius Bar appointment, there is a staff member waiting for you. For the duration of your time there, that staff member is focused only on your problem. They may not be able to fix it, but you see firsthand that they’re working on the problem. Also, they generally attempt to educate you on common solutions so you’ll be better prepared if you have the issue again in the future.” Keep your website, blog, and social media outlets organized. Make sure to have links to your work as well as areas for reviews or comments. Engage with your readers and fans because it will give them a more personal experience. If you’re focused on your work and your readers, they will feel a closer connection to both you as an author and your work.

According to Biddle’s article, “Negativity is the mortal sin of the Genius.” So whatever it is, a bad review, a tough critic, or an argument with your editor, stay positive. As frustrated and wronged as you may feel, fight the urge to take a trip to Negative Town. Take everything in stride and keep your work at the center of it all. Remember that all the criticism and speed bumps are there to help make your book the best it can possibly be.

The Bottom Line: Apple has the world’s largest market cap for a reason; they know what they’re doing! So, take a few notes from their Apple Genius Training Manual and use them to your advantage when promoting your work and interacting with your readers, you’ll be glad you did.