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Sunday, May 15, 2016


The Best-Kept Writer Secret

My secret writer resource!
I’ve never been good at keeping secrets, so I’m just going to spill the beans. Or rather, books. Because the best writer’s resource I know is the good, old public library.

Yes, it’s the public library, so you’re probably wondering what’s so secret about that?

Well, today’s public library is not your mother’s public library. There are still books—the kind you hold in your hands and digital ones, too—but there’s so much more. Except… when was the last time you explored your library? There are all kinds of secret treasures waiting to be found!

Did you know that many magazines—the ones you need to peruse and study before querying your article—are available through your public library? So you don’t have to buy all those magazines?

Oh. You already knew that, Miss Smartypants. Then how about this?

Technology! Computers, wi-fi, wireless printing, maybe even a TechStudio—all free for you and me! And all kinds of support to go along with that technology. So if you want to make a book trailer, ask your public library for a little help.

Okay, fine. You knew that, too. And you probably know all about classes and workshops offered at your public library. But did you know that you could be the one offering a class or a workshop?

Hah. That’s right, you Not-So-Famous Author. And you, too, Not-Published-By-A-Huge-Trade-Publisher. Because your public library is mandated to provide services for the community. So all you have to do is come up with a service that the community might like.

Let’s take a look at the steps you can follow to offer a workshop in the library:

1. Meet your library’s Community contact.
2. Ask her or him about offering a workshop.

Yep. That’s about all you need to do. But here are a few tips that will help you “sell” your writer’s workshop to your library:

1. Offer to do the workshop for free.
2. Develop a workshop that will have a wide appeal.

Now, maybe you’re asking yourself why you’d offer a workshop for free. After all, the big name authors don’t do workshops or author visits for free. That’s true, and when you are a big name author, you won’t, either. The thing is, libraries typically have small—very, very small budgets—so if you are willing to work for free, you’re already halfway to your workshop. And you can make a bit of money other ways.

Likely, you have a book that you can sell. Perhaps you have several books to sell. And maybe you have a website that you can direct patrons to where they can find out more about you (and buy from your links). Perhaps you’ll develop a group of local readers who’ll love your books and support you when your next book is released.

All because you gave a fun and interesting writer’s workshop at your public library. So pssst! Check out all the exciting opportunities at your local library—and pass the writer’s secret on!

~Cathy C. Hall

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Blogger Sioux said...

Cathy--I have a couple of workshops you could do--one on writing CS stories and one on how to become a blogger. Or how to infuse humor into your writing.

I would travel to hear you talk about any of those topics... if I didn't live so darned far away from you.

5:36 AM  
Blogger Judy H said...

Thank you for the plug for libraries! I retired, only to go to work part time at our local library. We constantly have writer talks and signings with local writers. Great way to get free publicity for the writer. And suggestions and offers for classes are always welcome.

But yes, we provide internet access, computers, printing, 3-D printing, computer classes, tons of children and teen events. Not to mention e-book/audio downloads via our website and tons of magazines.

If you are ever in Helena, MT stop by the Lewis and Clark Library!

6:28 AM  
Blogger Amber Polo said...

Thanks Cathy. This was one of the best posts on what libraries are today.
I'm retired from library and library consulting work and have written library shifter fantasies to show the fun side of library life.
Now I facilitate writers' groups and a book club. For several years when the library staff was small I wrote all the press releases and newspaper articles on library activities and fundraising. Now I'm on the Grand Opening Committee for our huge new building (with tons of people space) for a town of less than 12,000.
I would caution authors not to assume they can sell books. Many towns have business license rules and avoid commercial events.
Definitely get involved with your local library.

7:07 AM  
Blogger Karen Cioffi-Ventrice said...

I love the library and have been thinking about asking my local one if they'd be interested in my presenting a writing workshop. Thanks for the reminder! I'll have to get some information together to get started.

7:41 AM  
Blogger Amber Polo said...

I plan writing workshops so if you're in
northern AZ let me know.

9:40 AM  
Blogger Karen Cioffi-Ventrice said...

Thanks, Amber. I'm in New York.

10:45 AM  

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