Lake Atitlan, Panajachel, Guatemala

“Reading and writing are acts of empathy and faith. Guard that trust carefully — in this rapidly changing business, it’s the only sure thing.” ~Erin Keane
"Never give up. And most importantly, be true to yourself. Write from your heart, in your own voice, and about what you believe in." ~ Louise Brown

"Write something to suit yourself and many people will like it; write something to suit everybody and scarcely anyone will care for it."
~Jesse Stuart

"A writer's job is to take one thing and make it stand for twenty." ~ Virginia Woolf

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Library Fun & Games

Last night another author (David J. West) and I did a presentation at a local library. It was geared toward families, with me presenting Farm Girl for the kids, Uncut Diamonds for the moms and David presenting his debut novel, Heroes of the Fallen, for the older kids and the dads.

Several families, lots of kids, and a great time. Having raised ten children of my own in an environment of reading, books, writing and telling stories, I loved doing this event. It was the kind of thing my husband and I would have really liked coming to with our own kids.

It wasn't that successful sales-wise, but that didn't matter to me. Sales come and go, you win some you lose some. (Like followers lol, which I have just lost 2 in one week. What's going on with that?) What mattered was sharing the story of the little farm girl and the different life she had, with the country school, the differences in culture between then and now, and all that. What mattered was seeing how attentive these kids were to this story.

When I switched to the mom's part, I shared the story of how the cover of Uncut Diamonds came to be, then I asked how many were Irish? (None.) Raised Catholic? (None. And they're wondering what the heck I'm getting at. Good, I have their attention.) Then I say, "Looks like you're not my demographic. I've learned my demographic is Irish women raised Catholic. So you may not like Uncut Diamonds, but you can try it if you want." (Punchline. A lot of laughs.)

I'm here to tell you that this job (paid or not) can have unexpected rewards. There's more to it besides sales, selling books, money, success, fame, being on Oprah, having tons of followers on your blog (gosh, why did 2 leave me? What did I do? What did I say? Oh, please come back!) Wait-- where was I?

Right..uh...unexpected writerly rewards...and last night I experienced one of them at the community library in American Fork, Utah.

44 comments:

  1. That's the attitude! You never know what will transpire from this one event.
    And you raised ten kids? God bless you!

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  2. And I just noticed - you are at 200 followers. Congratulations, Karen!

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  3. Thanks Alex!! It would've been 202 but never mind about that lol!

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  4. Your family book event was true Americana and warms the heart. As did your enthusiasm for the energy the kids/adults exhibited. About the two Followers who exited, it's their loss. Followers can't expect bloggers/writers to stagnate, always in the same format. Oh, no. Whatever one writes, from published books to hoped-for-read blogs, the writer can't help but grow. And I love it for this is life and life is good.

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  5. i've just recently started following you, so it's fun "getting to know you" through your posts.
    that said - 10 kids?!?
    my hat is off, kareng.

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  6. Kittie, true Americana? That's awesome! I never thought of it like that, but yes I guess it was. Like my books. So that works!

    mi, thanks and isn't blogging great? Actually I have avoided mentioning my ten kids on this blog because then that's all people want to talk about. When I would go get my hair done and the hairdresser would ask the usual questions of how many kids do you have, I'd lie and say "two." Instead of seven, or however many I had at the time. Because I didn't want to go through the whole amazed "wow you have 7 kids!" scenario.

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  7. I am still laughing Karen!!! Not a single Irish Catholic in the group!

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  8. Sounds like a great time, Karen. And you're so right. It's not all about sales, for sure! There are so many more rewards.

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  9. Echoing Alex's comment, 200 followers is wonderful. I like the symmetry of it. And you only lost 2 out of 200!! I call that not so bad.

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  10. That's not a bad demographic to have seeing as there a fair few of us in Ireland, and heaps more in the US. And we hang out in local libraries, despite your experience there.

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  11. It sounds awesome! I'm glad you had a good night. You never know when people will think about it, and go out and buy the book later. They'll just miss the autograph.

    I think I'm your demographic! I'm half-Irish, raised Catholic, but converted. Does that count?

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  12. Library events are like that! What Alex said - it will lead to another opportunity somewhere.
    And congrats on 200!

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  13. Congratulations on having 200 followers Karen! Glad you enjoyed the presentation at your local library. I have attended several author presentations in libraries. People just love meeting writers and hearing them talk about their books.

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  14. Christine and L. Diane, thanks! I never in a million years expected to ever hit 100 let alone 200. The library thing is so great for another reason-- where would writers be without libraries? I spent so much time there growing up and practically raised my kids in libraries.

    Theresa, as long as you have Irish in you, I think you'll love Uncut Diamonds lol!

    mise, oh so cool, I could hear your accent there!

    Ann, symmetry is good. I like symmetry. I also like round numbers, and you can't get much rounder than 200. Except maybe 2,000,000.

    Talli, sales schmales. Who needs 'em?

    Ann, Well, not surprising since this is Utah. Not a lot of Irish Catholics here. Tons of Scandinavians however. It's like Minnesota that way.

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  15. 200 is good. 200 is very good. And I'm glad the presentation went well. Sounds really rewarding.

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  16. What a great idea for a presentation night!

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  17. Lovely post, Karen. Only 10 kids ? in Ireland that would only be one bedroom full.
    I am definitely your demographic, we Irish, and I think anyone with a heartbeat, loves a good family story with strong characters.
    Congrats on your 200 followers !

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  18. Wow....ten kids! You are amazing!

    Very clever on the punchline. :)

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  19. Hi

    Libraries are great places and so glad you used them to get more to read!!

    Yay!

    And you have 200 followers!! CONGRATULATIONS!!
    *clapping madly*

    Take care
    x

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  20. Sounds like a great event - something for everyone! :) I bet you made a ton of new fans and friends!

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  21. Oh, this made me laugh. I'm so glad someone else wonders where followers go and why they choose to leave. I lost 4 recently and can't imagine what I said or did. Guess we should focus on the positive - 200 followers is awesome, Karen.
    Karen

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  22. Sounds like a good time!

    I've thought about cleaning up the blog roll a bit but have held off because I feel bad abandoning someone. Now that you've NOTICED your missing followers, I'm there for life. I'm sure their owners would thank you if they could!

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  23. You may not have had the sales you wanted last night, but I bet you have some new fans that in time will buy even more. Congratulations on your 200 followers (the two that left don't know what they're missing). :)

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  24. Mason, Aww, thanks!

    MissV, I admit I've stopped following here and there in the past but that's before it happened to me lol! And it was back when I was first blogging. Now when I want to clean up my blog roll, I adjust what's on the side bar, but I still follow.

    Jemi, well, I know I had a lot of fun!

    Kitty, libraries are awesome!

    Sharon, the good part about having them is that it wasn't all at once!

    Brigid, LOL! I really need to move to Ireland. Or at least visit for a really long time!

    Kate, We'd like to come down your way as well but haven't been able to work it out with the librarians yet.

    Fran, 200 is fantastic! Why should I be greedy lol?

    Karen, are all Karen's as paranoid and anxiety-ridden as we are??

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  25. Wow, 10 kids. That's quite a many. I couldn't imagine raising that many. I'm in awe, really.

    200 followers, also hecka impressive, though in a different way. Congrats. :)

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  26. I didn't know you had ten kids! That was a great presentation idea - we'd have been there.

    Congratulations on 200 followers!

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  27. Dominique, better than 200 kids and 10 followers, right?

    Myrna, I think it's a good idea too, and it helps the libraries. The librarians are always so nice and they promote every way they can and a lot of them even serve refreshments!

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  29. "I'm here to tell you that this job (paid or not) can have unexpected rewards."

    That's correct. Sometimes I wonder if I'm really doing anything or going anywhere with my writing, and then these unexpected rewards come my way.

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  30. Oh, and I gave you an award, if you want it.

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  31. Congrats on all of your followers! Sounds like you had a wonderful worthwhile event.

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  32. What a positive outlook! I think it's wonderful that you're reaching out, and not just for the sales. You're giving back to your community, and that's admirable.

    Don't worry about those two followers. They come and go, often for no reason. More will come. Like me ;)

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  33. You should let me know when you want to come. I work on scheduling things like this with them all the time since they are so small and overworked. In the past I've scheduled with the library and been the go-between with the authors and the library.

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  34. Karen, I loved this blog. This is why I still follow you. Your writing style is so full of life. By the way, I tagged you on my blog.

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  35. Sounds like a great night! Don't sweat the two followers that left. You still have 201 that love your blog and follow you faithfully.

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  36. Want me to go hunt those two wayward followers down? I will! I'll stalk them, and then...oh, wait, just getting into the plot of my WIP. hehe.

    You never know with those kids at the library. Just getting the word out there about your book can pay off down the road.

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  37. A library presentation. I wish I could have been a fly on the wall. Good job!

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  38. Can I just say- that is so cool. I can only imagine presenting a real honest to goodness, finished, published novel at the library. Congrats to you! Be proud!

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  39. I have a great picture in my head Karen of you out there in Utah in a library wondering where the Irish Catholics are... I can just see all the bemused faces looking back at you, wondering if you have lost it!

    Well, (before any of you other 'demographic' say it) may I be the first to offer my services to you. I will happily come and visit your library (or any library) and give my personal review of Uncut Diamonds. Your publisher just has to send me the ticket and I am there!!! Bet Brigid would be there too.... a double act! How cool would that be!!!

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  40. I wouldn't worry about it. Half of my followers I have never seen or heard from again...are you out there followers? Where did you go?

    I hope they're still out there somewhere...listening, reading, laughing...May the force be with you!

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  41. A nice reminder of why we write (or should write, I guess). To reach the reader. It sounds like you did that beautifully. Where did your followers go? No worries. More will replace them!

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  42. I'm glad it went so well! You raised 10 ten kids? Did I read that right?

    And where do lost followers go? I lost one recently too. Weird.

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  43. There are so many other rewards to writing than money. I agree with you.

    I'm glad you had a good experience doing that presentation in Utah.

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  44. Sounds as if you had fun, which is what writing is all about.

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