Today is the launch of Armchair BEA for those of us who can’t travel to the Book Expo America in New York City.
Wednesday’s topic is Networking and participants are encouraged to share your positive experiences of using your blog to get involved in your community. This can involve partnerships with the local literary scene, attending author events and signings, or getting together with bloggers in your area. We want to hear it all!
At the beginning of the year, I was chatting to a librarian as she checked out my books and mentioned my blog. It just so happens it is the National Year of Reading here in Australia and Danielle asked if I would be interest in becoming a community ambassador for the program, a role I was happy to accept.
As we chatted she mentioned she would like to host Australian authors regularly at the library, but has never much success with publicists, partly because we are nearly a four drive from the nearest major city. At the time I had just gotten involved in the Australian Women Writers challenge and offered to directly contact some of the authors I was featuring on my blog to see if anyone would be interested.
That first inquiry was nerve wracking but to my surprise she agreed to come and talk to us (Thank you Lisa Heidke xx). She was so lovely about it and encouraged me to contact other authors she knew. So far this year we have welcomed an author each month including Lisa, Helene Young, Jaye Ford, Kirsty Eagar and Karly with more authors on their way in the next couple of months. Not only do I get to listen to them talk and get my books signed but I have shared dinner or a long drink with them as well and been able to chat about everything for hours!
The library and I coordinate with our local bookshop (we only have one – Manning Valley Books) who provides the books for sale at the events., so I have been able to build a relationship with the owner as well.
I can’t tell you what a thrill it has been to get to chat with these wonderful authors – as if they are real people and not rock stars I hope that I can continue to liase for the library, even after the National Year of Reading is finished, its been a fabulous experience so far.