True Confessions: Book Visits (and a Planning Tip)
Today is Lauren Oliver day!! 2 weeks ago, before reading Pandemonium, there would not be a Lauren Oliver day (although I did really like Delirium – a lot). But having read Pandemonium, there is now a Lauren Oliver day! Yesterday HarperTeen tweeted the news that Lauren Oliver would be visiting a book store near my home (only 45 minutes away – yay!) and I went crazy. Honestly, it is suddenly like this was the 80s, I was 12, and she was Duran Duran (who still rock, by the way).
So, here’s my true confession: I have never been to an author visit at a book store. As a librarian, I have arranged many author visits including Margaret Peterson Haddix (lovely and kind), Caroline B. Cooney (Milk Carton was all the rage), and even Ellen Schreiber (it made me very cool with some of my teenage girls). When Ellen Schreiber came, she brought her parents who told me that I made the most lovely sign for an author visit that they had ever seen thus making them my most favorite parents ever. Flattery will get you everywhere.
So today I am pulling my preteen out of school early (hey – it’s educational, she’s going to meet an author!) and we are going to trek to meet Lauren Oliver. The preteen is mega excited. Random library patrons and my coworkers yesterday, not so much – though they appreciated that I was excited. And I refrained from hugging random strangers – just barely.
To me, Pandemonium is *that* good of a book. I think that it speaks to our times.
So, back to my tip of the day to avoid this being a self indulgent post (as if it isn’t somehow already). Remember Ellen Schreiber, getting to her my library was really just a fluke. Our children’s librarian had seen a sign up in a town about an hour away that the local mega bookstore was going to be having her visit so I e-mailed and she agreed to come to my library later that evening. That was it, a bit of luck, a keen eye, and a pretty pretty please and viola – we had the most amazing author visit. Since then, I do go out from time to time and see if any YA authors are appearing anywhere near my library – say within a one hour drive radius – and test my luck. Be sure to set aside somewhere between $500.00 and $1,000.00 of your programming funds for these types of opportunities. Because they are already in the library, they will sometimes cut you a break. And of course, you have to scout early in advance so that you give yourself plenty of time to book and promote. And when promoting, be sure to tap into your local schools as they will sometimes give extra credit to students for attending. But if you get the right author at the right time, that is draw in and of itself.
Sign up for a Twitter account (it really *is* a good news feed if you follow the right people) and follow publishers and authors to get their announcements (you will also get booktrailer announcements, links to reviews, and cover releases which are all good for sharing with your teens). And of course, keep an eye out on the homepages of your local bookstores. By following all 3 – bookstores, authors and publishers – you are bound at some point to find a good author visit you can piggy back on.
I’ll let you know tomorrow how Lauren Oliver day went. In 9 hours – I’ll be seeing Lauren Oliver. Just saying. In case you didn’t hear. (PS – truly, I am a very composed highly trained professional librarian. I just – love books, and this has moved to the top of my list. Seriously, read it.)
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About Karen Jensen, MLS
Karen Jensen has been a Teen Services Librarian for almost 30 years. She created TLT in 2011 and is the co-editor of The Whole Library Handbook: Teen Services with Heather Booth (ALA Editions, 2014).
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