Fresh Book Festival in Daytona Beach

DAYTONA BEACH — Working under the theme that “Literacy Is Legacy,” Daytona Beach will be the scene of a major gathering of self-published authors when the F.R.E.S.H. Book Festival kicks off this month.

Held on Feb. 23-25, F.R.E.S.H. — which stands for Fiction, Romance, Erotica, Spiritual and Health — has grown to become one of the largest book festivals for minority and indie self-published authors in Florida. There will be plenty of activities to discover on all three days.

What is the Fresh Book Festival?

 The festival began in 2011, and picked up a prominent sponsor in the City of Daytona Beach in 2012. In the past 12 years, the festival has continued to grow and expand, the organizers noted.

This year’s festival will feature 45 authors and speakers, including writers from Central Florida, from across the state, and even national and international ones. The event will be held at the Julia and Charles Cherry, Cultural, and Educational Center, 925 George W Engram Boulevard, Daytona Beach.

What Happens During this Festival?

On Thursday, Feb. 23 at 6:30 p.m., the three-day event begins starts at 6:30 p.m. at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University at its Captain Willie Miller Instructional Center,. The evening will feature two films and a workshop by filmmakers Marlon Mccaulsky and Lamont Gant. Tickets for the films are for $5.

On Friday, the book festival opens at noon with a performance by the Palm Terrace Elementary School Music class. The students will reenact the Black History book by author Rekia Beverly.

From there, “The book festival will have two full days of workshops, interviews, speeches, excellent dinners, and awards,” the organizers noted in a news release. “This year renowned authors and book festival executives will share knowledge, sell books, and explain how they have survived and flourished in the mainstream and Black literacy/book business.”

Among the authors scheduled to attend are:

  • Stevin “Hedake” Smith
  • Curtis Bunn, CEO of the Black Book Festival of Atlanta
  • David Simon, CEO of the National Black Book Festival UK
  • Janis Kearney, CEO of WOW Publishing
  • Elizabeth Randall, a Paranormal and Ghost Story writer
  • W. C. Filmore, a Daytona Beach mystery writer
  • and Rekia Beverly, author of Children’s Teacher.

“On Friday the day ends with a Kaleidoscope of poetry and music, to relax and let your hair down,” organizers noted. “Saturday ends with recording artist DeMarKus, and a Regional Poetry Slam, at the Midtown Cafe.”

To learn more about this event, email or call 386-627-4353.

Are There a Lot of Self-Published Authors?

According to the website WordsRated, 300 million self-published books are sold each year, while the number of self-published books has increased by 264% in the last five years.

The site also noted that $1.25 billion worth of self-published books gets sold each year, with the average self-published book selling for around $4.16. Many of those authors publish their books on Amazon, as either paperback novels or eBooks, and WordsRated notes that Amazon pays $520 million in royalties to self-published authors every year.

Michael Freeman is an Orlando journalist, playwright, and author of the self-published book “Bloody Rabbit”. Contact him at

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