Why do Jason and I go to so many library events? Why are we planning to do large-print editions of our novels and novellas, mainly so libraries can have them? SO many reasons, the main one being that libraries and librarians are awesome and an awesome community resource! That and we both learned so much from our time in the 70s and 80s, haunting the shelves and finding things we really shouldn’t have been reading when we were that young, but I digress…
I’ll just say if you want to support libraries, AND support your favorite writers, AND support folks who may not have the money to buy books but love to read, request your favorite books and writers at your local library in ebook and print, and audiobook and large-print if available. Writers, do your part and get your books into libraries, too. That’s a rare win-win-win!
We had a wonderful time at the Tazewell County Public Library’s Comic Con over the weekend for a whole lot more reasons. The costumes were fantastic, and the big crowd was clearly having a blast. We even sold more books than we expected to, which is always a nice bonus.
But it was individual interactions that really made a difference.
A teenage boy stopped and looked at our display, and as we always do, we asked what he likes to read. He waved at our books and said “I’ve read Agonist.” That was Jason’s first published book from back in 2016. We probably both did a comical double-take! He’d found it at an unofficial collective library in McDowell, West Virginia. We’ve never even been to McDowell, but you better believe we’ll be taking books over there and seeing if we can do a library event now.
This was a random kid from a small town nowhere near us, who happened to come to this Comic Con in Tazewell, where we happened to be. He had no idea we’d be there. So this was the first time one of us had a reader (and a fan!) just show up in the wild. I have to say that gave me months of motivation to keep writing, and he wasn’t even talking to me.
I handed Jason a business card with the Agonist cover on the back to sign, and you would have thought he’d given the kid a hundred bucks. Then Jason gave him one of the ebook cards for Agonist since he didn’t have a copy. This time the kid said “You’re making my day!” to which we both said “You’re making our day!” He showed the ebook card to a group of friends and family, saying “Remember that book I read that I liked so much? That’s the author!” They all turned and looked at Jason, and it was SO COOL.
He said he’d never been into reading, so he decided to pick books that he liked the cover for, and Agonist jumped out at him. He actually said it was dope! And he loved the story so much he reads now. If THAT doesn’t motivate a writer (and cover designer, since Jason did that himself, too), nothing will.
As for my awesome moment, I had an advance copy of Fantastic Shorts, my first short story collection that comes out on May 21, 2019 (slightly shameless plug, yes). It was my first IngramSpark paperback, and I can’t order non-proof KDP ones until it’s released. So even today, it’s the one and only. A mom and ten-year-old girl stopped to chat, and the girl made a beeline for Fantastic Shorts.
Turns out she’s a writer, and she just loved the cover. She read the back, then turned to mom and said “I want this one.” Well, I hadn’t planned to sell it that day since it wasn’t out and that was my only copy. I figured I might get a pre-order or two.
But when faced with basically ME at age ten, wanting MY book?
I told her that was the one and only copy in the whole world, and it would be for a few more days. And even then, I’ll order author copies from KDP, so who knows when there will ever be another signed copy of that exact book out in the world? And of course I sold it to her, and happily signed it, including the all-important “Have fun with your writing!”
Who knows? She might be my favorite writer someday, or someone else’s. And the writer who signed the one-of-a-kind book the library that day might play a small role in that. Or in something as simple and amazing as helping her love reading even more.
What a treat for all of us!