As a writer, I often wonder if my work will ever take on the significance of books like those among our classic novels such as The Grapes of Wrath, Romeo & Juliet, or even Of Mice and Men. In my last post here at the Book’s Den, I discussed how depressing many of the classic novels tended to be an what my recommendations would be for required reading. Since then, I’ve wondered if my little mystery series will even be on a shelf within a few decades. I work at a library and in watching how we weed out our inventory, I began to feel a little insignificant.
I go through the shelves of our “Popular Authors” collection and pull all books that are over two years old. From there, they go into our general fiction section or into the genre section that best fits the book. After a while, someone else goes through and weeds the general sections and that person determines what will stay on our shelves and what will go into storage. Depending on how often a book is circulated, the book may find itself in the general collection for many years. Books like mine, however, may find themselves in the dungeon before they’ve really had a chance to prove themselves. It may take years for my series to catch on simply because it is not as widely marketed as books published by mainstream publishers. So, what do I do?
Well, the short answer to that is that I keep the books on “life support.” I create reasons for people to check the book out of the library such as contests which require finding certain passages in the book to win prizes. I’ve considered contests which involved having the library patron send me their checkout receipt to show that they have checked out the book. I think these are clever, non-traditional ways to get people to discover your work. What other creative ways can an author “keep the fire burning?” If you have suggestions or would like to share some of the more interesting ways you’ve promoted your writing, I’d love to hear your stories.
Until next time…
Author of the Rona Shively Stories Mystery Series