Sunday, April 28, 2019

Symbiosis, or Bringing Book Lovers Together

James L'Etoile and I at the Local Author Expo crime fiction table. He brought the crime scene tape, which I loved so much that I considered stealing it. He's retired law enforcement though, so I thought better of it.
I spent yesterday being part of the perfect symbiotic relationship. The Folsom Public Library had a Local Author Expo, with dozens of writers from all different genres and age categories under one roof.
I’ve always found book fairs that include all genres to be really beneficial. I’m reaching readers that I wouldn’t necessarily find otherwise. Even if they wouldn’t touch crime fiction, they walk by my table and suddenly remember their relative who loves mysteries and has a birthday coming up. I went to the Bay Area Book Fair a few years ago to sell my books and maybe pick up a few mysteries to read. Instead, I fell in love with a chef I heard speak while just killing time before my next stint at the sellers’ table. Her cookbook is now in my kitchen (chef Samin Nosrat, Salt Fat Acid Heat—I found her before Netflix did!).
Having this kind of a event at a library heightens this collaboration exponentially. You get the traffic that is there specifically to meet authors, and you get the folks who didn’t even know the expo was happening; they’re just there to check out some library books. But hey, they’re not going to pass up a chance to browse some more books, right? And if that means they end up checking one of my books out of the library, that’s just as much a win for me as if they’d bought one.*
And that’s what happened yesterday. Foot traffic was pretty steady all day. And about halfway through, I left my display in care of my friend and tablemate (see action photo above) and wandered around talking to authors myself. This was great—I got a few good publicity tips, met friendly, interesting people and saw great books I otherwise wouldn’t know about.

Here are a few:

LaDonna Plays Hoops by Kimberly Gordon Biddle. Girls! Basketball! Sheet music for a song written specifically for the book! Visit the author here. Buy it here, or ask your local library to order it*.

The Girls Survive series by Nikki Shannon Smith. The third in the series, set during the Civil War, comes out in August. Visit the author here. Buy the books here and here or ask your library to order them. I'm serious here. Even if you don't have a child yourself, I think your local library should carry all three, don't you?
* If you’re a library patron, and your local library doesn’t have a book you’re interested in, don’t hesitate to ask them to order it. Look on the library website; often there’s a form you can fill out to request a book purchase. Or talk to a librarian in person. They’re the nicest people on earth. They might figure out how to add it to their collection, and this leads back to the exponential thing. You’re helping authors A LOT. Sure, that book results in one sale. But it gets our books into the hands of tons more readers. So if you can’t buy a book—for whatever reason—consider asking your library for it. The library, and the author, will thank you.

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