Thursday, September 19, 2013

Romancing the Library by Dora Hiers

Me ~ Dora Hiers
Dora here. Sending a huge thanks to Sandy Ardoin for moderating comments for me over the last couple of weeks while we were away. We enjoyed a fabulous time on our cruise, but it's great to be back!

A couple weeks ago, Myra Johnson shared a great post on what works and what doesn't for library events. If you missed it, you can read it here. Today, I'm following up with Romancing the Library, something I love to do. :) 

When our local library contacted me about speaking right after Journey's End, my first inspirational romance, released, I balked. What would I say? Who would listen? Hubby, an integral part of my writing journey, encouraged me, even offered some basic topics to tackle. 

Thankfully, the library manager allotted me a few months to hammer out a presentation and bolster my confidence. When I stepped to the podium, my knees buckled and my voice trembled. My nerves finally settled, and I actually found that I enjoyed the interaction with readers.

Over breakfast a few weeks later, I mentioned visiting a friend who lived a couple hours away.

“Why don’t you visit the library and donate a copy of Journey’s End?” Hubby asked. “The library gets a new book, and for a minimal investment, you’re getting your book in the hands of readers who may buy future books. The way I see it, it’s a win-win.”

Did I mention how supportive and encouraging my hubby is? His suggestion opened up the door for many library invitations.

Here are some tips on Romancing the Library:

Plan your trips and vacations. Map out your route and check library systems in
York County, VA
advance to make sure they don’t already stock your book. I have a better success rate with smaller-to-mid-sized branch libraries, so I target them as much as possible.
 If you’ll be vacationing, email the local librarians to let them know the dates you’ll be visiting. A librarian in Virginia invited me to speak while we stayed in the area for a fire conference. -> 

Bring your smile and your one sheet. Your enthusiasm breeds excitement. Smile and introduce yourself, trailing your finger along the book covers on your one sheet as you talk.

Inquire if they are receptive to author events and procure the manager’s email address/contact info. Many library managers complain that their readers aren’t interested in straight book signings, but their eyes light up when you offer information their
Steele Creek Library,
Charlotte, NC
patrons can use. A skeletal presentation can be expanded to cover many topics, depending on the library’s needs. One library director requested a Christian writer expo, so I convinced Myra Johnson and Jennifer Hudson Taylor to join me, and for the last couple of summers, Myra Johnson and I have offered several presentations for our local library system.

Request a tax donation form. This will ensure that you receive credit for your investment at income tax time.

Follow up. Email a few days after your visit, reminding the library manager of your donation and your presentations offering. Specify a target time frame, i.e. fall or early 20xx. Attach your one sheet so they can remember you.

Recognize that library opportunities take time. You may not hear from a library for months, or even a year (which just happened to me!). Don’t get discouraged. Writers know all about waiting, don’t we?

Don’t discount the contacts you’ll make in a library. A newspaper reporter wrote about a library’s summer reading program and mentioned my program. Another presentation prompted an invitation for a radio interview. In another, a patron invited me to speak elsewhere. Our joint library presentations were promoted with a local radio station.

Romancing the Library is a win-win. Hubby was right.

What about you? Does your loved one support and encourage your writing journey? 

Have you considered romancing the library?

Small Town Treasure
Purchase Link
Five years ago, Emily Mannerson escaped small town living and moved to the big city where nobody knew "poor little Emily" and her miserable background. Now an attorney, Emily longs for what she left behind…her adopted mother and high-school sweetheart. Fire captain Matthew Westerly treasures his small town of Journey Creek and values faith, family, and friendships. When he rescues Emily from a horrific car accident, he's determined to win her back and make up for the lost years. Can a big city girl and a small town boy discover their true treasure? Will they trust God to work a miracle?