Not About the Sales: My Kind of Author Reading

Social Media Maven Kristen Lamb had this to say on yesterday’s blog post: “Social Media Was NEVER About Selling Books Directly—Who KNEW?”

This girl may have agreed in theory before, but after Tuesday night’s Book Launch Party for my YA novel, The Flying Burgowski, now I KNOW how true those words are.

Not because I didn’t sell books. I did. But those sales are not what sent me home that night feeling so high on blessings that it took me forever to turn my brain off (even though I had to wake up @ 3:45 to bake for the opening of Holly B’s Bakery–but that’s another story).

Blessings? At an author reading? Oh, let me count the ways.

1. I got four of the neatest kids on our island to join me in reading various parts from the chapter. All four have had extensive experience in our island’s Community Shakespeare performances, and so they needed no coaching in delivery or projection.


{All photos courtesy of Lorna Reese.}

2. Yup–we have Community Shakespeare, all age groups onstage together, once a year. Which I am DYING to be a part of…if only I could figure out how to fit it in with the writing and the baking and the singing and the buying-groceries stuff…but yes. Just the fact that it exists = major blessing.

3. For a reading of a YA novel, I had a library full of people whose hair color was…let’s just say more silver than gold, OK? YA readers might not turn out for readings, but their parents and grandparents do, especially if they KNOW (or know about) and RESPECT the author (which was Kristen Lamb’s point).

4. Every time I looked out at my audience, I saw friends and future friends.


5. Our amazing librarians, Heidi Larsen and Lou Pray, not only introduced me, they asked questions during the Q & A, and set up a room full of art supplies and yummy treats for after the reading.

6. Art supplies? At a reading? Yes!!! Since my book is about a flying girl, my idea was to invite folks to make some art on the theme of “If I Could Fly,” and then have the results posted in the library. In the middle of my reading I thought, “Oh! That’s so lame! No one’s going to do that!” But lo and behold, when I got done signing books…there was a room full of happy artists of all ages, inner children as well as real ones.

7. Radio archives. Really. Our community radio station, KLOI, captured the event for a future radio show–introductions, reading, Q & A and all. Do I think many people will listen to it? Of course not! Do I LOVE living in a place where community radio records author readings? Yes, yes, yes–and not just because it’s me. (Well, maybe a little.)

I could probably go on listing blessings indefinitely. I didn’t mention all the one-on-one conversations during the signing, all the leads and ideas people threw my way–“Have you talked to So-and-so at Such-and-such?” “Ooh, my aunt’s a librarian, I’m sending her a copy.”  I didn’t mention the wonderful questions I got from the audience, many of whom are authors themselves, like Iris Graville, author of Hands At Work.

All I know is, THIS is why I published my book: to get it into people’s hands, to get them talking about it, and with me. To CONNECT. Bring on the author readings!reading

Does this match with anyone’s experience? Ever been to an author reading that was more than just a reading? Have any other ideas I can steal for my next one? Please share!