Last Saturday I was the guest speaker for an English Conversation drop-in seminar for new Canadian citizens at a local Toronto library branch (Brentwood). From what was discussed by email with the organizers, I was to talk a bit about writing memoirs using the senses. However, I could bring copies of my mystery books to sell.
So armed with memoir writing handouts and my books I arrived early.
And received a very pleasant surprise.
I already knew one of the organizers, Bill, who attended my memoir writing workshop at another library branch. So, from our phone conversations and emails I knew of this plan he had concocted and yes, I knew he was interested in buying my books as well as others – librarians and seminar participants.
What I didn’t know was all the enthusiasm I would receive about my books and being a writer. As I’ve mentioned before, we writers sometimes forget that this is what we do (just like some people are lawyers) so we take it as second nature.
We, or at least I, never forget we do want and need to sell book copies. But I try not to be in people’s faces about it.
The whole two hours was all about my books – characters and plot – and writing, but with a twist. The participants are newly-arrived in Canada and their English varies from good to just learning. Part of these seminars’ focus is on the idiosyncrasies of the English language. So when a slang phrase or cliché came up, Anna the librarian or Bill would ask the others if they knew what it meant so that started a lively discussion. I caught on to this and started to do the same as for some reason I began involuntarily using a lot of slang terms. And near the end I was allowed to sell my books – sold all of the Beyond the Tripping Point short story collection copies I had brought along and half of the Beyond Blood novel copies.
And Bill, Anna (and Lidia, the other librarian who also facilitated this session) want me back to do a guest spot in one of their evening sessions. Not sure if its fiction writing or memoir writing, but I will be ready for either or both and yes, I can sell books.
Lidia also had me sign the contract to teach a different memoir writing workshop for library patrons in the fall. And yes, I can sell books then, too.
The point here is – no matter how you organize promoting your books, you may miss something – often something pleasant and rewarding – not just book sales, but that magical connection with others who are interested in writing and your books.
Meantime I’m preparing for two gigs with other Crime Writers of Canada members coming up June 11 and June 12. See my website www.samcraw.com and go to Beyond Blood for a list. More on that in next week’s posting.
Sharon A. Crawford
Sharon A. Crawford is the author of the Beyond book series. More info at www.samcraw.com and www.bluedenimpress.com – my publisher – you can also purchase e-books – both Kindle and Kobo from Blue Denim Press. Click on the Beyond Blood Book cover at the top of this post.