Monday, November 26, 2012

A Debut Author Learns About Libraries


Learning to be an author in addition to being a writer is an interesting process. While in the midst of planning publicity, working on a new website, and sharing news both regularly and prudently (I think both are important), I’m very aware that yes, book sales are going to be an important factor if I don’t want to become a one-book wonder. (No intention of that, mind you, and WIP is coming along nicely, if I do say so myself. Which I do. Also have a tickling of a story for book 3!)
And then a few weeks ago I learned that THE GLASS WIVES will be published in hardcover for the library market. That means that libraries can purchase a copy (or ten, um, book clubs!) of my novel and it will be sturdier and last longer than the trade paperback edition.  Because libraries are book buyers, this is a good thing. Whether we all like it or not, not everyone can afford to buy every book. And some people can’t afford or choose not to buy any books.  And this doesn’t mean they’re not book lovers or voracious readers. It means that I want libraries to have copies of my book so that everyone who wants to read it has the opportunity to do so, no matter where they choose to obtain their [legal, I'm looking at you, book pirating sites] copy.
The point here is to garner the attention of readers any way possible. This is not lost on me.
So, after I was finished with a personal celebration, knowing that my editor and publisher have confidence that libraries will want to stock-up on THE GLASS WIVES, I printed out THE GLASS WIVES page from the St. Martin’s Griffin Spring catalog, the first three pages, and a copy of the cover. And I marched my debut author behind over to the library in my town.
Small town. Big new library.
I introduced myself to the adult services librarian, leading with “I live in Small Town and St. Martin’s Press is publishing my first novel in May.”  Yes, that is a way to get a librarian’s attention. She was lovely, and interested, and her smile stretched across her face. She asked if she could shake my hand (heartily, I might add) to congratulate me.  She asked questions about how long it took me to write it, the agent-process, and she made many correct assumptions about the excitement level in my brain and heart.  The librarian needed to pass along my information (complete with actual telephone number) to the person who purchases fiction for the library because of course she was at lunch when I showed up.
I’m fortunate to live in an educated, education-centric community. I’m in contact with the local book club that started in 1938 and boasts over 100 members. It’s also not lost on me that the fact that THE GLASS WIVES is set in a Chicago suburb and about a divorced mom, and that I LIVE in a Chicago suburb and am a divorced mom, may send 9200 locals scampering for the book in stores, online, in this very library, looking for something or someone familiar, looking for answers and insights to my real life, or—gasp—theirs. They won’t find it, but hey, I’m no dummy.
I just nod and say, “You’ll have to read the book.”

5 comments:

  1. That's great, Amy! And even better is getting local support for your book! I can' wait to read THE GLASS WIVES!!!

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  2. I would love for my book to be in a library. I always wondered how that happened and if I could just walk and donate it to them.

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  3. Fantastic, Amy! I've had a similarly great experience with our local libraries. I'm working on a post about it now...

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  4. Eliza--we have several fabulous libraries in our area and even though they all carry copies of my novel--not, sadly, in library editions--I stillI donated an extra copy to the main library. I just walked in and they were super nice. Also gave me the contact number for two local book clubs.

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  5. Congratulations, Amy - that's wonderful news!!! You've got what it takes, Girlfriend, I've have done it, but I'd have been shaking in my shoes!

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