Shelf Awareness for Friday, June 29, 2018


Shadow Mountain: Women of the Blue and Gray: True Civil War Stories of Mothers, Medics, Soldiers, and Spies by Marianne Monson

Workman Publishing: Born to Dance: Celebrating the Wonder of Childhood by Jordan Matter

Andrews McMeel Publishing: To Make Monsters Out of Girls by Amanda Lovelace

Doubleday Books: The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker

Nobrow Press: Hilda and the Hidden People by Luke Pearson and Stephen Davies

Quotation of the Day

Ashley Bryan: 'You Know with Art You're Always Beginning'

Kwame Alexander

"This afternoon I asked Ashley Bryan if he'd accomplished most of what he wanted to do in art and children's literature. He smiled and said, 'I'm actually just getting started, Kwame. You know with art you're always beginning.' He turns 95 in two weeks."

--Kwame Alexander, tweeting about his conversation with legendary children's book writer and illustrator Ashley Bryan

Houghton Mifflin: The Goodnight Train Rolls On! by June Sobel, illustrated by Laura Huliska-Beith


News

Colorado Book Co-op to Open in Late July

Narrow Gauge Book Cooperative, which aims to establish a co-operative bookstore in Alamosa, Colo., plans to open in late July, according to the Alamosa News. Aiming to fill the gap left by the closing in March of the Narrow Gauge Newsstand after 40 years in business, the Co-op will offer new and used books, food, art supplies as well as host book clubs, author events and writing workshops.

The Co-op has 69 owners and 27 members. Its board is led by Marlena Antonucci, who the paper describes as having "arrived in Alamosa a year ago as an AmeriCorp volunteer. Full of energy and good ideas, she is a natural at community engagement." Other board members include v-p Angela Haynie, secretary Brandon Cox, and treasurer Cathy Morin along with Scott Tate, Jeff Owsley, Katherine Lewis and Patti Lara. The Co-op is an all-volunteer operation.

An Indiegogo campaign raised more than $13,500 to help finance the effort, and in other ways, the group has raised almost the entire $54,000 it estimated it needed to open.


Agate Bolden: Someone Has Led This Child to Believe: A Memoir by Regina Louise


Facebook's New Political Ad Policy Rejects Bookstore Events

Following the implementation of a new political ad policy on Facebook, A Room of One's Own Bookstore in Madison, Wisc., has seen two of its attempts to boost posts about upcoming author events rejected due to their "political nature," Bookselling This Week reported.

Gretchen Treu, events coordinator at A Room of One's Own, said that in early June she requested to boost Facebook posts about two upcoming author events: one with Ijeoma Oluo, author of So You Want to Talk About Race (Seal Press), and the other with Cecile Richards, author of Make Trouble (Touchstone Books). After the ads were rejected, Facebook eventually allowed the Oluo post to be boosted following a review but sustained the rejection of the Make Trouble post.

Treu reported that A Room of One's Own had frequently boosted author event posts in the past and never had any issues until this policy change. She added that while she's glad to see Facebook tackle the problem of fake news and disinformation on its service, "at least to some extent," she hopes for a "better, more granular, and smarter system."

Facebook implemented its new political ad policy, which is exclusive to ads targeting American audiences, in early May, with the intention of preventing "foreign individuals or groups" from creating ads to influence American politics. Advertisers themselves must now become authorized to post ads of a political nature, which involves submitting a government-issued ID and giving a residential mailing address.

Included in Facebook's guidelines about what constitutes a political ad are "national issues of public importance," which encompasses everything from abortion, civil rights and the environment to health, immigration and "values."

"While we are sympathetic to Facebook’s attempt to filter out false news meant to influence our democratic process, attempts to regulate or control speech will usually result in unintended consequences," David Grogan, director of American Booksellers for Free Expression and advocacy and public policy for the American Booksellers Association, told BTW. "And in this case it has, as bookstores that are advertising important author events--critical to the free exchange of ideas--are censored indiscriminately alongside foreign actors. Facebook needs to go back to the drawing board on this policy."


KidsBuzz for the Week of 07.16.18


Louise Sherwin‐Stark Named CEO of Hachette Australia & N.Z.

Louise Sherwin-Stark

Louise Sherwin‐Stark has been appointed CEO of Hachette Australia and New Zealand, the Bookseller reported. She had been serving as joint managing director. In her new role, Sherwin‐Stark will have overall responsibility for all parts of the business, including Australian publishing, publicity and marketing. She reports to Richard Kitson, chair of Hachette Australia and New Zealand and deputy CEO of Hachette U.K.

Kitson praised Sherwin‐Stark as "a natural leader and a brilliant publisher, and her huge flair and enthusiasm inspires all who work with her." He added that Sherwin-Stark and managing director Justin Ractliffe "jointly stepped into the role of managing director in October 2014 following the sudden and tragic death of Matt Richell. They steadied the ship and carried on the great work that Matt had started and since then have made their own mark on the company with a long list of brilliant achievements. Now is the time for Louise to step up again into the new role of CEO and I am very pleased that Justin will continue as managing director."

Sherwin‐Stark thanked the Hachette Australia and New Zealand board, as well as Ractliffe "for working so creatively and collaboratively over the last few years" and Richard Kitson "for his insight and support."


GLOW: Ecco Press: Bowlaway by Elizabeth McCracken


Wi14 Scholarship Application Deadline Extended to July 15

"To ensure every bookseller has the opportunity to apply," the American Booksellers Association has extended the application deadline to July 15 for those who wish to apply for a scholarship to attend the 2019 Winter Institute, which will be held January 22–25 in Albuquerque, N.Mex., Bookselling This Week reported.

Scholarships--which are open to booksellers from ABA member stores that did not have a Winter Institute scholarship winner in 2017 or 2018--cover the conference fee; up to four nights plus tax at a hotel in the ABA block; and transportation costs up to $400.

The application form had opened earlier than in previous years in order for ABA to notify winning booksellers of their scholarship before Winter Institute registration opens in September. Booksellers attending the fall regional trade shows will also have a chance to win a scholarship by submitting a business card at the ABA booth.

The deadline to apply is now July 15 at 5 p.m. Eastern. Winners will be announced in August. Booksellers with questions about Wi14 and/or the scholarship application process should e-mail winterinstitute@bookweb.org.


Disney-Hyperion: Incognito (Beatrice Zinker, Upside Down Thinker #2) by Shelley Johannes

Obituary Note: Harlan Ellison

Harlan Ellison at the World Fantasy Convention, in the 1980s. (photo by & copyright ©Andrew Porter)

Harlan Ellison, "who emerged as a major figure in the New Wave of science fiction writers in the 1960s and became a legend in science fiction and fantasy circles for his award-winning stories and notoriously outspoken and combative persona," died June 28, the Los Angeles Times reported. He was 84.

"Ellison was immensely talented, immensely argumentative and immensely controversial, all in equal measure," said author John Scalzi. "Loved or loathed, he was undeniably one of the great figures in science fiction."

Ellison won multiple awards from the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, the Mystery Writers of America and the Horror Writers Association. The L.A. Times noted that he was the third most anthologized science fiction writer behind Ray Bradbury and Isaac Asimov. In 2006, Ellison received the SFWA's Grand Master Award for lifetime achievement. He also won four Writers Guild of America Awards for TV work.

"He’s one of the major post-World War II American writers of science fiction," said Rob Latham, a professor of English and a specialist in science fiction at UC Riverside, which awarded Ellison the university’s Eaton Award for Lifetime Achievement in Science Fiction in 2011.

Ellison's story collections include Strange Wine; The Beast that Shouted Love at the Heart of the World; Harlan Ellison's Watching; Deathbird Stories; I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream; and Stalking the Nightmare: Stories and Essays.

In a post on Boing Boing, Cory Doctorow wrote: "Harlan Ellison was an amazing writer; not always, but enough of the time, and with sufficient magnitude, that he shaped generations of writers, and inspired me. The eloquence and passion he brought to fighting injustice were my own apprenticeship (even though we sometimes disagreed thoroughly on what constituted 'injustice'). Ellison has been my lifelong test-case for figuring out how to admire the admirable parts without excusing the parts that couldn't be excused, someone whose good deeds and remoteness gave him a salience without any kind of personal baggage (I could be angry at Ellison without worrying about taking it out on him, because we didn't socialize). As a training ground for finding space for two contradictory feelings, you couldn't ask for better than Harlan Ellison."

"There was no one quite like him in American letters, and never will be. Angry, funny, eloquent, hugely talented," Stephen King tweeted. "If there's an afterlife, Harlan is already kicking ass and taking down names."

At Tor.com, Ryan Britt observed that it "would be a bizarre disservice to write an obituary for Harlan Ellison, and not mention his most famous story, ' "Repent, Harlequin!" Said the Ticktockman.' In this one, a future enslaved under strict schedules is invaded by a rogue figure intent on destroying the 'system.' If Harlan Ellison was constantly presenting his middle finger to the establishment--whether that was science fiction, writing schools, Hollywood, or just an authority in general--then he is well represented by the trickster Harlequin, who flings jellybeans into the cogs of the Orwellian machines. Jellybeans!

"We can only hope, when Ellison approaches the gates of the afterlife, that they know what they’re in for. After he basically wrestled the future to the ground, how could the afterlife possibly prepare for Harlan Ellison? And what will they do if he’s armed with a bag of jellybeans?"


Johns Hopkins University Press: Vaccines Did Not Cause Rachel's Autism: My Journey as a Vaccine Scientist, Pediatrician, and Autism Dad by Peter J. Hotez


Notes

Image of the Day: Multicultural Murals

Children's book author/illustrator Herve Tullét (Mix It Up!; Press Here) recently worked with students on a series of murals at PS84, the Lillian Weber School of the Arts, on Manhattan's Upper West Side. The school enlisted French immigrant Tullét to lead a series of art workshops to encourage students to share and learn about the diverse cultures and backgrounds represented at their school, resulting in murals that decorate the school's interior hallways. Then Tullét created two 45-foot murals on the school's exterior, and the students completed the portion of the mural between Tullét's work.


The New Press: Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong by James W. Loewen


Maxim Loskutoff Selected for Bookshop Santa Cruz Writing Residency

Maxim Loskutoff

Bookshop Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, Calif., has awarded its 2018 Writing Residency at the Wellstone Center in the Redwoods to Maxim Loskutoff, author of the short story collection Come West and See (Norton) and a novel, Spirits, that will be published by Norton in 2020. He was earlier a New York University Global Writing Fellow in Abu Dhabi, and his work has been published in literary journals including Ploughshares and the Southern Review.

The residency, created two years ago in honor of Bookshop Santa Cruz's 50th anniversary, provides room and evening meals for a writer for two weeks at the Wellstone Center in the Santa Cruz Mountains, run by Sarah Ringler and author Steve Kettmann. Writers can participate in Wellstone offerings, including weekly yoga and open mic nights, and will receive a consultation session with Bookshop Santa Cruz buyers to discuss their projects in relation to the marketplace. This residency will be offered annually through 2020.


Disney-Hyperion: Santa Bruce by Ryan T. Higgins


Jackson Hole Book Trader 'Has Been Through Lots of Changes'

The Jackson Hole Book Trader, Jackson, Wyo., "has been through lots of changes this year," the bookshop noted on Facebook, where it showcased a recent feature in the Business Focus section of the News&Guide that tells "our story--from changing hands to remodel and a new vision."

Owner Susie Temple bought the bookstore in 2017, remodeled the space and reopened just before Christmas. "From the beginning I knew I was going to change virtually everything, and start a new chapter that reflected more who I am and what I want this space to be," she said.

The shop is "much more open and easy to navigate, with tables down the middle loaded with art and coffee table books, shelving along the sides for the bulk of the inventory, and a kids reading nook," the News&Guide wrote.

"I've just always been happiest whenever I'm around books--at a library, a bookstore," Temple said. "It's comfortable, quiet, peaceful, and you're surrounded by all of these amazing ideas. I truly believe all the answers to every question are found in a book."



Media and Movies

Media Heat: Fresh Air Remembers Donald Hall

Today:
Fresh Air remembers poet Donald Hall, who died last Saturday, and will play excerpts from several interviews over the years with him, one of which includes his late wife, poet Jane Kenyon.

Tomorrow:
CBS This Morning: Todd Richards, author of Soul: A Chef's Culinary Evolution in 150 Recipes (Oxmoor House, $35, 9780848754419).

Sunday:
Face the Nation: Mark Salter, co-author of The Restless Wave: Good Times, Just Causes, Great Fights, and Other Appreciations (Simon & Schuster, $30, 9781501178009).


TV: Midnight's Children; Guernsey Literary/Potato Peel Pie Socy.

Netflix will adapt Salman Rushdie's 1981 novel Midnight's Children into a television series. According to the Hollywood Reporter, the series order "marks one of the first key moves for new executive Simran Sethi, who joined the streamer as a creative executive in India from Freeform last year."

Rushdie said, "I am absolutely delighted that Midnight's Children will have a new life on Netflix and greatly look forward to working with them to help create it." The Booker Prize-winning title had been previously adapted as a Canadian-British film directed by Deepa Mehta in 2013.

"Midnight's Children is one of the great novels of the world, and its themes are still relevant to the India of today," said Erik Barmack, v-p international originals at Netflix. "The narrative continues to fascinate audiences decades after it was first published. We are incredibly excited to translate this pioneering work of fiction that parallels the birth of modern India, for a global audience. The rich experience and talent of Indian creators combined with the global reach of Netflix have the potential for millions more people around the world to rediscover this story."

---

A trailer is out for The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society, based on the bestselling novel by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows. People magazine also featured an exclusive scene from the movie, which will be available for streaming on Netflix starting August 10.

Directed by Mike Newell (Four Weddings and a Funeral, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire), the film stars Lily James, Michiel Huisman, Katherine Parkinson, Matthew Goode, Glen Powell, Penelope Wilton, Jessica Brown Findlay and Tom Courtenay.

Producing are Paula Mazur and Mitchell Kaplan from the Mazur/Kaplan Company (he is the owner of Books & Books in southern Florida and the Cayman Islands), along with Graham Broadbent and Pete Czernin from Blueprint Pictures (Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, In Bruges).


Books & Authors

Awards: Graywolf Nonfiction Winner

Zat Lun by Thirii Myo Kyaw Myint won the Graywolf Press Nonfiction Prize, which aims "to honor and encourage the art of literary nonfiction, and is given to an outstanding manuscript by an emerging author who has published no more than two previous books of nonfiction." Zat Lun captures Myint's own family history and her life growing up in San Jose, Calif., as well as the official and mythic histories that relate to ongoing conflicts in Myanmar. In addition to publication, the award comes with a $12,000 advance.

"In an exceptionally strong field, Zat Lun stood out for the elegance of its lyric prose and the ingenuity of its structure," said Graywolf editor Steve Woodward. "Myint's hybrid approach and incorporation of myth and oral traditions overturn expectations around immigrant narratives, and add layers to her parallel investigations of both her family history and that of Myanmar. The whole team at Graywolf is delighted to see this truly original and bold manuscript join the ranks of the Graywolf Press Nonfiction Prize winners."

Myint commented: "As an immigrant and a person of color, it is rare that I have the opportunity to represent myself on my own terms. My hybrid, genre-defying family history project Zat Lun is an effort to do just that: to write about my identity and heritage as ongoing, living narratives. I am deeply grateful to have Graywolf believe in and support my project and am honored to join such an inspirational group of authors who have previously won this prize."


Reading with... Paul A. Offit

photo: April Saul
Paul A. Offit, M.D., is an attending physician in the Division of Infectious Diseases at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and a Professor of Pediatrics at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. He is the co-inventor of the rotavirus vaccine RotaTeq, which in 2006 was recommended by the CDC for universal use in infants. For this achievement, Dr. Offit was elected to the National Academy of Medicine and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and honored by Bill and Melinda Gates's Living Proof Project. He is the author of Vaccinated: One Man's Quest to Defeat the World's Deadliest Diseases, Deadly Choices: How the Anti-Vaccine Movement Threatens Us All and Pandora's Lab: Seven Stories of Science Gone Wrong. His most recent book is Bad Advice: Or Why Celebrities, Politicians, and Activists Aren't Your Best Source of Health Information (Columbia University Press).
 
On your nightstand now:
 
A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles. Like Anita Brookner and John Updike, Towles is a writer's writer. It's reassuring to know that I will never write this well.
 
Favorite book when you were a child:
 
The Moffats by Eleanor Estes, which described the adventures of a mother and her four children in a small town in Connecticut. There was something enormously hopeful and brave about this family, which, as a child, I found reassuring.
 
Your top five authors:
 
W. Somerset Maugham
John Steinbeck
Anita Brookner
Jess Walter
Jonathan Tropper
 
Book you've faked reading:
 
I haven't ever pretended to read a book. What would be the point?
 
Book you're an evangelist for:
 
Will You Please Be Quiet, Please? by Raymond Carver. Carver is an amazing short story writer. 
 
Book you've bought for the cover:
 
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers. Okay, I primarily bought this book for the title. But the cover was also seductive.
 
Book you hid from your parents:
 
I never hid a book from my parents. My room was at the other end of the house. I didn't really have to hide anything.
 
Book that changed your life:
 
W. Somerset Maugham's Of Human Bondage, the single best description of the suffering of unrequited love. The movie equivalents to this book are Francois Truffaut's The Story of Adele H. starring Isabelle Adjani, The Sterile Cuckoo starring Liza Minnelli and The Lacemaker starring Isabelle Huppert, where rejection causes a descent into madness.
 
Favorite line from a book:
 
Regarding young men at war: "We are forlorn like children and experienced like old men. We are crude and sorrowful and superficial--I believe we are lost." --from All Quiet on the Western Front by Eric Maria Remarque
 
Five books you'll never part with:

The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
Of Human Bondage by Somerset Maugham
Sophie's Choice by William Styron
The Book of Daniel by E.L. Doctorow
The Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy

All are books about suffering, love and redemption.
 
Book you most want to read:
 
Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace. I want to read this book; everyone I know has read this book; friends can't believe that I haven't read this book. I'll read it. I promise.
 
How you prefer to read:
 
I prefer to hold the actual book. At times I feel that I am the last person on earth that still does this. When I pull out a book on an airplane, I wonder whether I should reassure the person next to me that what I'm doing is normal--that it's just a book, not some bizarre weapon of terror.

Book Review

Review: Driven: A White-Knuckled Ride to Heartbreak and Back

Driven: A White-Knuckled Ride to Heartbreak and Back by Melissa Stephenson (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $23 hardcover, 256p., 9781328768292, July 24, 2018)

Some memoirs come with a timeline tagged by favorite songs. Some come with a back bar of whiskey and intermittent 12-step rehabs. Melissa Stephenson's Driven comes with a Craigslist of used cars that ferried her through a life of ambition tempered by a troubled family, especially her brother Matthew--who at age 29 put a Glock to his head, leaving her his red '79 Ford F-150 and a mutt named Early Times. The first book from Texas State University MFA graduate Stephenson, Driven shows a woman tangled in frayed family ties with an itch to bust out and become a writer, despite the devastating loss of her alcoholic brother, her divorce and two young children in her charge.
 
Born middle class in Columbus, Ind., Stephenson fondly recalls the family cars of her youth: the '68 VW Squareback; their first new car, a '78 sky-blue, slant-six Plymouth Volaré ("the model that came closest to the Platonic ideal of car ever made"); and a workhorse '88 Honda Civic. When she is old enough to win a scholarship to Michigan's Interlochen Arts Academy, she gets to choose her own whips: an '80 rust-brown Toyota Corolla and an '84 Saab 900, her gateway ride to college in Missoula, Mont. If the town was good enough for her writing idol Jim Harrison, she figures it might be the place for her. As she reflects, "I thrived on frayed clothing, blue highways, rivers with boulders the size of Volkswagens stranded midstream, and an approachable set of low expectations."
 
College opened more doors for her than just academics--road trips to San Francisco for Grateful Dead shows, hanging out with a boyfriend in Alaska and finally marriage to Josh, a musician and another would-be writer. While her brother Matthew was day-drinking in Georgia and in a bad marriage to the bass player for Nashville Pussy ("the culmination of his greatest loves: rock 'n' roll, questionable behavior, and powerful women"), Stephenson and Josh leave Missoula in a U-Haul truck towing her mom's '88 Civic to San Marcos, Tex., to pursue her MFA and give him time to write. With its triple-digit temperatures, Texas is not fun: "There is no good time to be outside, among the banana spiders, black widows, fire ants, scorpions, and feral cats." When she gets the call from her father about Matthew's suicide, she flies to Atlanta to help close up his Skyline doublewide and then road trip his truck back to Texas. The parents of a son, she and Josh return to Missoula with a second child on the way--and eventually divorce.
 
Car by car, Stephenson tracks the hills and valleys of her life as she finally comes to grips with her grief and a marriage that runs out of gas. Driven is a restless road trip of a memoir that ends with some contentment as Stephenson and her son tinker with the engine of their family '84 VW Westfalia Vanagon. --Bruce Jacobs, founding partner, Watermark Books & Cafe, Wichita, Kan.
 
Shelf Talker: In a passionate memoir, Stephenson finds comfort and freedom in the cars that grounded the turbulence and restlessness of her life.

Deeper Understanding

Robert Gray: Trade Show Commonplace Book--Author Events

So much happens at a book conference or trade show. For me, keeping a digital commonplace book has become a personal as well as professional habit. Long after a BookExpo or Winter Institute or fall regional bookseller conference has ended, I want to be able to call up quotable moments that could easily have slipped away, memory (mine at least) being the sieve it is.

This is particularly true of the education sessions, where attendees participate in detailed conversations about pertinent topics. There are so many excellent "big picture" takeaway quotes from these sessions, offering perspective on this crazy business we've all signed up for. Ya gotta save some of them.

Andrea Kiliany Thatcher, Mike Onorato, Lynn Rosen, Megan Edwards, Mark Sedenquist

Consider, for example, the BookExpo education session "Making Indie Bookstore and Library Events a Win-Win-Win," which was moderated by Mike Onorato, executive director of publicity at Smith Publicity, and featured Lynn Rosen, co-owner of Open Book Bookstore, Elkins Park, Pa.; Megan Edwards, author of the Copper Black mystery series; Mark Sedenquist, publisher of indie press Imbrifex Books; and Andrea Kiliany Thatcher, marketing manager & book publicist at Smith Publicity.

While the discussion leaned more toward bookshops than libraries, some excellent points were made about hosting author events, including:

Sedenquist noted that Imbrifex authors are advised "that when they go to book events we want them to introduce themselves to as many booksellers as possible. So that for nonfiction books, they're recognized as an expert in the field.... If they're a fiction writer, their personality should be apparent because those booksellers will handsell the books long after the author is gone."

Although selling her books is "always at the back of my head," Edwards conceded that "I can't just walk into a room and say that's what I'm there for. Perhaps it's obvious to everyone, but I do like getting to know people, meeting people who already know about and like my books and interacting with them. And I love getting to know booksellers and actually these days just visiting independent bookstores and chain bookstores all over the country is just a delightful way to be a tourist."

She also put in a plug for her home indie in Las Vegas: "We have a fabulous independent bookstore that has become a tourist destination. You wouldn't think that Las Vegas would be a place where readers would come, but this store is really worth the visit. It's called the Writer's Block.... So I really like all of that interaction, and then of course the residual effect afterwards of my books selling better and in more places across the country, which builds on itself. If I've done a good job, maybe I'll get invited back for the next one."

Speaking as a bookseller, Rosen agreed with Edwards that book sales are an important part of author events, but not everything: "We like to think of ourselves as creating conversations and community around the books. So if we're creating an atmosphere, if we're bringing people in, and they're enjoying something and they're part of a literary activity then we feel like we've accomplished what we set out to do. We're always balancing an event with book sales versus an event that's sort of a marketing tool; that's just getting new customers into the store, even if they're not buying something that night."

As a former social media manager for two indie bookstores in the Philadelphia area, Smith Publicity's Thatcher said she "felt that the social media content--newsletter content, website content--that you get from an event can be worth the event even if you only sold five or 10 books. There is some cynicism around author signing events. People are questioning that a lot, and I like to point out that there is the national reach of that hashtag for your book. That if you are promoting the signing the best you can online and in social media, the reach is much wider than just that city where you're hosting the event."

The big question had to be asked: What if an event happens and nobody shows up?

"I'm always so afraid I'm going to go and there'll be nobody there," Edwards confessed. "And it has never happened, but I will say that one time there were two people there. But that's okay with me. It's still an event. And you might modify how you present everything or interact with the two people who are there, but you can still have a great event. And it can still achieve all the other things that can go with a great event even if the room isn't full."

Thatcher said she loved "hearing an author say that it is their responsibility to get people there. As a bookseller and also as a publicist, I've had a lot of authors feel like that's perhaps someone else's job. I try to give them the perspective that the bookstore is doing you a favor. They're hosting you in their space. They're doing a lot of marketing, but we like you to do an equal amount of marketing."

Rosen posed some questions of her own: "What's in an event for the potential attendee? What do you have to offer them? For me, that's really important in planning our events.... So I try to think about what people want. Way back when I was an editor at Ballantine, my boss said, 'People don't buy books because they need them. They because they want them.' So I want to think about what people want out of our events."

--Robert Gray, contributing editor (Column archives available at Fresh Eyes Now)

KidsBuzz: Clavis: Benji & the Giant Kite by Alan C. Fox, illustrated by Eefje Kuijl
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