Our Very First Essence Festival and Unexpected Surviving Marriage Glow Up
One of our many #EssenceFest Recaps
Yall have heard about the party with a purpose that descends on New Orleans, better known during this time as #NOLA, every year around Fourth of July weekend right? It’s been bringing droves of blackness to the city for 24 years and we have never attended. This year, we were in tha houz in more ways than one.
Our first hope was to get media credentials. Having a behind the scenes look at what really goes on and being able to interview and ask the not so popular or often asks questions is where we thrive. Bringing a human aspect to any Black gathering of people is necessary. Our people don’t need fluff right now. They need the realness and solutions of what people with elevated platforms can provide. Needless to say, we didn’t get the passes.
Our next hope was to be able to speak in some capacity. We appeared in the April Issue of Essence Magazine, giving entrepreneur tips. We have owned a multimedia company, Dawah International, LLC, for over 10 years and we had an entertainment business for 14 years. We could definitely give some good tips and empowerment to aspiring entrepreneurs. Because things changed so much with the festival (we found out all of this later) we weren’t to get in on that either.
Our next to last hope, last hope being we just show up, was to have our book, Surviving Marriage in the 21st Century – 13 Easy Tips That Can Help You Get to 20 Years And Beyond, in the bookstore. And wouldn’t you know it, two days before we left for an event in London, we found out that our book would be displayed and listed in the Essencefest bookstore. We were excited! It is a prestigious place to be as the traffic that shuttles through the bookstore is major. Also, they only select a small amount of books to showcase.
We dropped off our initial stack of books Thursday during set up. We were just happy to be there and among the selected few. Friday, the start of the festival, upon our arrival at the bookstore, it was packed! Our book was on the front table and it and already been selling, even without our presence. We meeted and greeted a few fans and then continued on to enjoy the festival. We kept checking back to see how the book was doing. By the end of Day One, we had already sold half the stack.
Day Two, we decided to drop off some marketing material. There were authors in the bookstore telling people about their book and signing copies. We were happy that the book was selling even without our physical presence and decided to enjoy more of the festival. We checked out several of the talks, the booths, collected bags & samples and met with some friends. Before we left, we checked on the book again. It was still selling well and we had to replenish.
Day Three. We went to see the Bobby Brown Story first, met up with some friends and then went to the bookstore. Imagine our surprise when we found it on the celebrity table. Our little self-published book about marriage was selling so well that it was placed alongside Luvvie Ajayi, I’m Judging You and Kevin Hart, I Can’t Make This Up. Nope, we really can’t make this stuff up. This was real. And we ran into a few purchasers and they were more than happy that we autographed the book for them. We were very shocked and surprised that we earned the exposure to be showcased in such a way. This type of exposure is priceless.
There’s so many authors that look for ways to sell more books. Our plan wasn’t to sell like a NY Times Best Seller but to have the exposure so that people know about the book. Not only did we sell well but Essence put us in good company. All we did was show up and they provided the glow up. Not only are we grateful but we’re ready to do it again…next year.
For more of our Essence Festival coverage, be sure to check out our VLOG on IGTV and YOUTUBE @rufusandjenny