I've heard from a number of librarians around the state about the response of my books in their libraries. Several even sent me the books' circulation records, which is the number of times they've been checked out since the books arrived at the library. Several said they've had waiting lists to read the books. Being a librarian myself, that is thrilling news. Libraries are close to my heart, and more people get to read my stories if they're on the shelves. If your library doesn't have my books yet, ask them or fill out a request card for the library to get them. Libraries have limited budgets for books, and there are so many books published each year that librarians have to be very selective. And I know for a fact that they get buried in publishers' catalogs and mailers vying for their collection development money. It makes a difference if you can recommend the book(s), letting them know that readers would enjoy them. Within this past week I've heard from friends and family that someone in their circles of influence in other towns saw people in their circles of influence carrying Grace Falling Like Rain that they had checked out of their libraries. That's so exciting to hear!
If the big publishers are steamboats and tugboats and oil tankers moving up the Mississippi River, my marketing effort is an inflatable raft powered by me. And most days I would rather write than promote. I'm not comfortable in the marketing and sales person roles, and tend to let my books sell themselves. But how will people even know they exist if nobody tells them? Word of mouth among family and friends has been great, and they've passed the word on to their family and friends. And since more people would have the opportunity to read my books if they were in a library, I've marketed the books to Texas public libraries. My next effort will be a mailer to Texas high school libraries, and many have even stricter collection development policies and less budgets than public libraries. So if you have read either of my books and feel like they would be good additions to your high school library, please recommend them to the school librarian.
I've seen too many of these edgy, coming of age stories that make it sound like all teenagers are immersed in self-destructive behaviors involving drugs, alcohol, sex, profanity, suicide, and such angst. Our kids deserve better reading fare than that. I've heard the media's excuse for the torrid and damaged themes in their movies and books that they're just filming and printing true life. But if they've focused most of their movie and book plots on a small percent of what's actually going on with teenagers, then they've skewed reality and have given off the impression to teens that this angst is supposed to be their reality. Since they're telling us they are filming and writing about real life, I see that it has created a new and dangerous reality for our kids if they're constantly being shown and told that these scenarios are true life-- that they are the norm in behavior and circumstances, and what's wrong with you if your life isn't like what you're seeing on the screen or reading in books? We're supposed to be preparing our young people for life, right? Then let's give them every tool we can to get through those tough years, made even more difficult by what they're exposed to on every hand.
The stories in my books have their edge of your seat moments, but they also offer some hope amidst the difficulties and laughter and tears. Please recommend them to your local librarians--public and high school-- if you have the opportunity.