Monday, November 16, 2015

EKO AKETE Experience

Checking out the location before the event started
Hello all, so the Lagos Creative Industry Fair has come and gone, and my verdict is "It could have been better... way better."

But let me point out that there were two events in one; the Creative Industry Fair and the Book and Art Festival.

At the same time, this was the 17th edition of the Book Festival, and if it has come this far and some exhibitors came around, hopeful, then perhaps the issue was with this specific edition, because it was lacking... in people.

It felt like there were only 30 people in the fair for the entire 7 days.
Let me also mention that part of the 30 people were FIRS (Federal Inland Revenue Service) agents, hawking around and looking for authors, publishers and small business owners to police and check if they are registered (?), running clandestine businesses or operations (?), up to date with taxes (?), owing taxes (?), or maybe they were expecting to collect tax payments and get commissions on them (?), not sure, but I found their presence and purpose very unprofessional and ridiculous, especially as they were sweating under the hot sun instead of doing other things like using the already paid taxes to fix bad roads :). I gave them some interesting advice though, which I won't get into right now.

Before I go further, let me point out that the Creative Industry Fair, on its own, was its first edition, and some geniuses decided to add the Book Festival to it. Well, it was a brilliant idea, only that the dates corresponded to the Lagos International Trade Fair, which held in the surrounding area... Guess where everyone was? I almost left the Creative Fair to the Trade Fair, as well.

My sales assistant repping #TwentyOneDays
Anyway, for the Book Festival, which was my own main interest and which lasted the last 3 days of the Fair, I had planned to join in as an observer, as I did for the Nigerian International Book Fair that held in May 2015, then depending on outcome, I would decide if to participate the next year... with my current state of mind, I'm not sure if I would join in next year or not; but time would tell... maybe by the time I complete this post, I would be able to tell.

So, I had booked a stand to exhibit, then found out that my payment covered for the whole 7 days, and not just the last 3 days as I initially thought, so instead of letting my stand go empty, I decided to go there and display, sell, network, etc., and I got about only 20% return on investment. I'm not complaining, at least I got to meet new people; it's better than nothing.

Some visitors at the Creative Fair

Keziah Jones was there...

Damola was also there.

I made contacts, I sold some books, I participated in some programs and I got to watch some shows... it wasn't bad after all.

I would participate next year, IF, and ONLY IF, the Book Festival stands on its own and doesn't clash with other major events; if there's better publicity for it; if the program is more exciting; if it's done indoors with air-conditioning (the heat from the burning sun was unbearable); if there's provision for coffee (writers need coffee, and coffee goes with cold places #CoffeeAddict); if it looks professional and nice.

Location matters a lot to me, and that's why I'm already planning to exhibit at the Nigerian International Book Fair that'll be holding in May 2016. The turn up wasn't all that much in 2015, because of the fuel scarcity issue that was going on in the country then, but the location, the setting, the environment was worth it.

I was able to take a few pictures at EKO AKETE though, so please, feast your eyes ; )

Literarily Yours,

My sister and her colleague showed up to support... :)

Me on day 1 of the Book Festival

My sister and I in Black & White

My sister and I goofing around :)
Finally, with love from CMO

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