The Best-Kept Writer's Secret

Thursday, May 26, 2016
(Heads up, y’all! Some of you may know the secret already as this post originally ran on May 15th. But another post was inadvertently run that day as well, and so I thought, “Well, dang. It’s STILL going to be the best-kept writer’s secret!” And I just couldn’t have that. So for those of you who missed the secret, this one’s for you!)

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, 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 and make sure that it is open to the public.
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


Donna Volkenannt said...

So glad I caught this post, Cathy. What you've written about libraries is so true of our libraries in Eastern Missouri. I'm amazed at all the events scheduled at our libraries from writers' events, book clubs, knitting classes, and even a walking club. Enjoy your summer!

Sheila Renfro said...

Well there were quite few things I didn't know that I will with my library. I didn't know about the book trailer help.
Thank you!

Margo Dill said...

Libraries are amazing!

Debra Mayhew said...

Clearly my pants weren't as smarty as I thought. Thanks for some great tips.

Linda O'Connell said...

I was thrilled to learn my library has movies. So many activities for little ones, too. Libraries can be life lines. Good post,Cathy.

Cathy C. Hall said...

Oh, I'm so glad the secret's out! Libraries ARE amazing--spread the word! :-)

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