In my search for the magic bullet to get my book noticed, I read a blog in which the author recommended thinking outside the box. She said to start local. I was sitting at our local library one morning in January with my son when I looked around at all of the books and posters for reading programs and had a light bulb moment. Why not ask if they promote local authors? I was introduced to Paul, the awesome man in charge of the adult programs for the library. He said he would love to have a local author day and asked if there were any other authors in the area. I immediately recommended my good friend and fellow author, Thomas Amo. Paul said he would set something up for June as part of the library's adult summer reading series (called "Between the Sheets" lol).
Thomas Amo, Paul, and Me!
I was absolutely shocked at all the support we received from the library. They purchased several copies of our books to put in the library and saved one to have us sign and raffle off at the event. Paul told me it would be an adult event, so Thomas Amo and I planned accordingly. We were going to talk for a few minutes about writing and then read selections from our books. His book, An Apple for Zoe, is an adult horror novel, and he was going to read a particularly scary hospital scene. I had chosen to read a section of WhereWill You Run? that included an interaction between the main characters that was steeped in sexual tension.
All relaxed before the kids arrived
We were absolutely amazed when we got to the library on Saturday. There were posters, and even refreshments in a room off the main library. I was a little overwhelmed by the publicity, and it made me even more nervous. Thankfully, Thomas and I have worked in theater together, and he always has a way of calming my stage fright. I did okay too until the room started filling up with children!! He looked at me and I panicked. I whispered "He said adults only." We both started scrambling for different sections to read. There is no part of An Apple for Zoe that is kid friendly, so he opted to read his section and edit as he went. I had to scramble for a completely different chapter. "Can you say 'sexual tension' kids?" Ugh! Thankfully, I found a rated G chapter that would work. One disaster averted. The other awkward moment came when we chose names in the raffle and kids won both of our books. Yikes! "Give this to your mom!"
I couldn't stop giggling!
Since he knew I was nervous, Thomas volunteered to go first. He assured the parents that even though we had counted on an adult event, we would keep it kid friendly. He had written an extended synopsis of his book that blew me away. I had planned to read the one on the back of my book. You know, the one everyone had already read. Sigh. When it was my turn, I started by following the notes on my index cards, but soon found that it was really easy to talk about my book and writing because it is something so close to my heart.
No,I'm not nervous at all. I always look nauseous.
Afterwards, we left time for a question and answer period. I was impressed with the thoughtful questions they asked about writing and self publishing. Thomas's amazing wife came to take pictures and asked awesome questions to fill in the gaps. Even though I had been nervous, I found it easy to relax around fellow book lovers. I had the most incredible time. The people who attended were so awesome. They rushed the table afterwards to talk to us. We were shocked when they treated us like rock stars. They wanted our autographs and asked to take pictures with us. Some even bought our books. Several people told us that all of our books had been checked out and they were on waiting lists. That was incredible!!
Caught one of mine before it got checked out :)
I am so glad I read that blog and tried to think outside the box. Honestly, I don't know why I didn't think of the library before. Libraries are amazing and so supportive when it comes to reading and writing for kids and adults. Paul even asked us at the end if we had any advice for the young writers in the audience. So even though we had our reservations about the kids being there, turned out most of them had been writing and were actually interested in meeting authors. One little girl even told me about a story she had written about unicorns. What a great opportunity for us to be able to encourage young writers. I didn't realize all of the programs and events that are being held at our local library throughout the year. I strongly urge you to get involved with the library in your community. You might be amazed at what you find!
Don't read this until you are 18!!