Sunday, 5 September 2010

Being Chatty

In this time of economic uncertainty, public libraries can be a huge boon as a source of entertainment, knowledge and opportunity. One of the problems that libraries face is attracting “customers” – getting people in in order to show that their services are being utilized and funding, scarce in many places, is being put to good use.

When you think of a library you might envision just rows of books – but there is so much more. Several libraries also offer movies, crafts, classes, and book discussion clubs. As authors getting involved with a book discussion group at a local library is also a terrific way to publicize our latest works.

Rousing discussions can be created for each of your books – now – and then marketed to a local library as an author event. Residents are more likely to come to the library to meet a lesser known author when you tempt then with the promise of a lively interactive conversation. Show your local library that you can bring patrons in and they will be more anxious to schedule you for an event.

It’s easy to write up a discussion packet for each of your books, it doesn’t matter if they are fact or fiction. Direct your discussion to the age or interest group that you book is targeted for. Prepare a list of starter questions to get the conversation going – keep in mind that some questions are better suited for those who have already read the book.

Is your book about a subject that is relevant to a current news event or a local cause? How? What information can you offer about that topic? For example, my novel Bartlett’s Rule deals with a rape survivor – part of the discussion packet included dialogue and information from rape support groups.

Discuss the characters. Are they memorable, likeable , or evil? What are their careers, hobbies or special skills? You can offer information about an interesting career as part of your discussion packet. What about the setting of our book? Is it real? Is there any significant history to the location? If the setting is not real, why and how did you create it?

Your questions are merely to jumpstart the discussion - be prepared for readers to come prepared with their own questions and comments which will capture the audience’s interest.

Be sure to advertise the event – capitalize on the subject of your discussion and THEN link it to your book and you. If you wrote your book as an expert voice be sure to announce your qualifications for leading the discussion. Remember to keep the conversation interactive and flexible. Your role is to facilitate the chat, not to control it.

Publicize your book and maybe even sell a few copies - lure patrons into the library and it’s a win-win situation for all.


Lindsay Townsend said...

This is great, Chelle! Lots of wonderful ideas - thank you!

Celia Yeary said...

CHELLE--your ideas are very professional, and I appalud you.A good author who is also a good speaker and chatter--could benefit from this sort of event. Now, you've given me an idea! Not for our library--too much is going on there now! But for our lovely senior citizens center which is in an old restored church and has been turned into a performing arts center, tea room (lunch), and special evenst--such as book signings. It has a fairly large group of people who regularly support the place. Inside, it looks like a Nineteenth Century home, complete with beautiful carpet, window furnishings, etc. Thank you! Celia

Savanna Kougar said...

Chelle, excellent ideas and as Celia said, professional. Also, very relevant if your book does include a current topic for discussion.

Chelle Cordero said...

Thanks Lindsay, Celia & Savanna,
And yes, offering a book discussion packet is a wonderful method to use when scheduling any author event. A book discussion packet will also help sales even when the discussion is being facilitated by some one else (as one Calif. based senior center had with my book Forgotten)

Chelle Cordero said...

btw, you can even store a book discussion packet as a .pdf for download off of your website.

LK Hunsaker said...

Chelle, great info. I know authors who do speaking events generally do well with sales. Can't imagine doing it, but I applaud anyone who does.