I recently posted to my main blog, for the benefit of all authors, some suggestions as to how and where they might be able to find readers for their books. It struck me, after I had already published that post, that there are a few other things authors can do within their own neighbourhoods that might help raise awareness for reading, for their own books specifically, and that could also big them new friends, as well.
This article came to my attention after the fact about a young man who used a little library and sharing his love of reading in order to meet more of his neighbours in the apartment building where he lives. Little Libraries have become a terrific phenomenon throughout many cities, with some rather imaginative designs going into building the actual boxes. My favourite has always been the little library designed to look like Doctor Who’s Tardis, and built by Reading Recommendations promoted author, Jennifer Brozek.
Thursday afternoon, as I was driving north on HWY #21, heading back to the trailer, I glimpsed a sign at the end of a farm driveway that read: Farm Store, Little Library at back. Perfect!
But really, no matter where the Little Library is located or what its design, it’s all about the books you choose to put into those libraries. And who exactly is to say you can’t put your own books in there?
Here at the park, there’s a library in one of the halls, a dedicated quiet reading room, and campers are asked to leave paperback books for the benefit of everyone. We’re allowed to take any books we wish, and while the selection isn’t the greatest to satisfy my “specialized” reading taste, I did find Paul Auster’s New York Trilogy, Dark Star by Alan Furst, Annie Proulx’s That Old Ace in the Hole and The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski. Not a bad haul of reading material! I also signed a print copy of my own novel and donated it to the library, although I don’t think it’s ever actually made it onto the shelves yet, as it’s still being passed around from reader to reader at our coffee group. The good news is that several of my neighbours have now purchased their own copies and one women is introducing me to new friends as The Author. Cool!
Now that I’ve met so many of the others living in this park, I’m also finding out who does read and what interests them and I’ve made many recommendations to them, have loaned some of the books I own, and am encouraging these women (and they are all women, so far) to spread the word among their friends about what they are reading that they enjoy. (Trying to encourage that “sharing habit” I mentioned in earlier blog posts.)
At the beginning of the summer I met a friend’s granddaughter who was visiting for a few weeks. She is a reader, big time!, and had taken an extra summer school class in English Lit., just because she wanted to. We talked a lot about books (generally while paddling around in the pool). She isn’t at all interested in the Twilight series or much of what her teenage friends are reading. She was at her grandmother’s trailer for a break from school and to have solitude to read. My kinda gal! Anyway, I’ve been feeding her books and created a suggested reading list, based on what she’s already read, on many of the authors I’ve promoted and others I enjoy reading. She read my book, as well, and enjoyed it. Her grandmother bought a copy for her and asked me to sign it. I heard later that the girl had told her father she’s going to need a new bookcase so she can begin shelving signed copies she plans to collect now, separately from all her other books. Wheeeeeeeeeeee!!! That’s exactly what this author loves to hear!!
She also presented me with these two handmade bookmarks she created using wild flowers she and her grandmother had gathered and dried over the summer. The one with the maple tree leaves was specially designed for me to take to Bequia, so I’d always be reminded of Canada whenever I read a book. So sweet of her!
Another reader friend has now asked me to speak to her women’s group next week, a two-hour drive away. I’ll be staying overnight at her house and am welcome to bring copies of my book, in case someone wishes to buy one. That will be fun, and I’ll meet 12 new-to-me people who may actually become readers – hopefully, MY readers!
When I first moved into this trailer, I realized there were no bookshelves in it. Oh, the horror! But there is one built-in shelf under the front window that fits in a pinch. I kind of like what this photo says of me. I’m sure some people who pass think, “Weirdo!” But I like to think that what this says is, “A reader lives here!” And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that at all! Unfortunately, the photo doesn’t show the other 300+ eBooks I have loaded on my eReader . . .
Further to the other blog post I mentioned above, I also discovered this brilliant video created by the Shoalhaven Library Staff that just confirms my love for librarians. Most I’ve met and had the pleasure to work with have this same wicked sense of humour! Just listen to the words in their version of Bohemian Rhapsody. I’m sure it will have you laughing as hard as I did while I watched it, tears streaming down my cheeks.
You are most welcome here! Enjoying the view with me from my trailer or verandah.