Review: Finnish Crime Fiction Festival 2019

Finnish Crime Fiction Festival made me think about the situation of the bookselling business. How is it going and why they do the things they do?

Here is the basics first and then we’ll get to the actual review 

  • Organizers: Atena, Aula & Co, Bazar, Gummerus, Into, Johnny Kniga, Kustantamo S&S, Siltala, Storytel, Suomen dekkariseura, Tammi and WSOY
  • Genre: #CrimeFiction #Dekkari
  • Length: 8 hours of seminars and interviews + optional Dinner Event for those who paid more than 20€ of entrance
  • My rating: 2/5 ⭐️⭐️
  • Place: Paasitorni, Paasivuorenkatu 5 A, Helsinki
  • Writers: Heine Bakkeid (NOR) | Patricia G. Bertényi | Cilla & Rolf Börjlind (SWE) | Tomas Gads | Mikko Gustafsson | Janne Huuskonen | Otto Hyyrynen | Petri  Karra | David Lagercrantz (SWE) | Pauliina Littorin & Antti Marttinen | Leena Lehtolainen | Mariette Lindstein (SWE) | Anu Patrakka | Juha Rautaheimo | Matti Remes | Matti Rönkä | Ninni Schulman (SWE) | Max Seeck|  Jarkko Sipilä | Arttu Tuominen | Heikki Valkama

How much literary events cost in your country? I am talking about seminars, exhibitions, library events etc. This Fall I have started to think about the oddity of Finnish Literary Events and other happenings (Crime Fiction Festival and Book Exhibitions). I mean, why should someone pay to get to buy books? It’s crazy you know.

We are having serious problems with kids and teenagers because they do not read anymore (there are few exceptions). And our style of producing content about books is still the same we did like twenty years ago (In Finland I mean).

Let me explain. I went to Crime Fiction Festival called Dekkarifestivaali here in Finland. The event had nice agenda and I thought that it would suit well for my interests and I’d network with other bloggers too. I wanted to find some Youtube bloggers to talk to as I wish to start doing videos for TikTok to spread the love of reading there.

Well, no. I could not find any bloggers as they were there hiding. If I’d be the manager of this event, I’d make sure the bloggers and other influencers in social media would get their own entrance with some sort of patch or sticker to make sure that everyone knows who they are and writers could network with them. The influencers are by the way the persons who market your book better than any other group ever! (My opinion)

Then I thought I’d buy some aesthetic and books for my pictures at Instagram.
Well, no. At the Festival there was only one small table with books from the writers who were interviewed at the festival and an even smaller table for co-merchandise materials. (I know fantasy books get more merchandise stuff as it is easier, but c’mon. It’s not that hard to add a good quote in a mug or t-shirt and sell it). You can imagine how disappointed I was with the “FESTIVAL” idea. It was a seminar, so call it a seminar!

So, I paid 20 euros to get to the Crime Fiction Festival. It was not bad as it was only me there and I was truly interested of the topics and interviews, BUT… if I were to get my kids (teenagers, almost adult) to the festival, they would laugh and it would cost me too much to even think about it, so C’mon! 60 euros for three people to enter to listen to seminars and your point is selling books? Why on Earth? I do not get it? I could spend 60 euros on books, not for the entrance.

Few notes about the agenda
No one under 30 wants to sit 8 hours listening interviews in 2019 anymore. People need videos, exiting things happening and free goodies or free entrance and paid goodies. And this is not only my opinion. Books are losing their hold to videogames, TikTok videos, Youtubers etc. It is not hard to find the young influencers and ask them politely to do the stuff for you in the young reader’s channels if it is too much for you to do it. (But if you call yourself a marketing person, then shame on you. You should definitely know how to get everything out of social media. It is SOCIAL media after all and people interact there.)

And there are young readers: a lot of young adults who read crime fiction and other genres too. Learn from them. Ask help from them.

So, I am a person who does not only want to give a negative opinion on anything so here is  advice for you to make the event more positive:

  • Choose books that have some other stuff also made. Lisbeth Salander, for example, is a character that lives also in movies, so use it. There was an interview of a new book that came out, stream it with a Youtube blogger. It is so easy, does not cost much and the interview was in English anyway. No reason to leave out the possible marketing and I am sure there were other people eager to know what is behind the author’s thoughts.
  • We also had a video game launched this year that was connected with Glancy’s books (Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Breakpoint). Use that kind of stuff in the events and put a game corner for the young ones to try, when the adults talk about the book behind the game.
  • Use influencers. Give them a place to take pictures of the books and authors. Now it was difficult to ask it when the author was writing their names in books. I did not want to bother.

So back to the original question. How much the literary events cost? Too much I would say if the objective is to sell more books. If the goal is to make more profit with the events than with the books, then I’d recommend a little bit different kind of strategy.

I was not fully disappointed but there were lot of things that would get the event to the next level and spread the word about the books to buy. It is a business after all and the books are written to be read.

I could write a novel about marketing books, but I leave this review like it is now. I’d like to know what you think about all this. Let’s continue the conversation on Instagram or you can comment in here too.


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