Friday, 14 January 2011

Bookshop and author working together: Lynne Garner

After a year of unsuccessfully trying to organise my own school visits I’d given up. However that all changed the end of last year when a friend took over the task of generating extra book sales in a small local bookstore. She contacted me asking if I’d be interested in working together to organise author events for local schools. Well as you can imagine I said a big fat yes to the idea.

Her plan was to contact the publishers she dealt with when buying books to see if they would help ‘supply’ authors for school visits. She also planned to contact as many local authors with the same aim, hence why she contacted me. Her plan of sourcing authors who could offer free visits and paid for visits culminated in my first author event.

I was the first of three authors to visit the school over a period of two weeks. We write completely different types of books and can provide the children with a different experience. I must admit I was not only excited but also extremely nervous on the day. However during the first break the feedback was extremely positive, which gave me the boost I needed just at the right time. At lunch time I was informed that some of the children had been found playing ‘authors.’ This involved folding pieces of paper to create a book and writing a story in said book. As I left at the end of the day the head mistress came up to my friend and I and told us she was delighted with the way the day had gone and how we had managed to inspire the children. I must admit as I climbed into my car I was defiantly in smug mode.

By working together we have found we can open more school doors. She has taken the ‘pain’ out of organising such an event for the school. Because of this she has within just a few short weeks managed to organise two events. She has not only boosted her sales but also managed to achieve something I was unable to do on my own. Since the positive feedback we received from our first venture we have decided to expand the schools approached to other local towns. We are positive that by working together we can not only build our business (her as a book seller and me as a writer) but also bring books to life for children.

Although the first visit took quite a bit of organising on both our parts all those that follow will be much easier. So if there are any authors or small independent bookshops looking to achieve the same thing then I would strongly urge you to give working together a go. It appears to be working for us.


Penny Dolan said...

Lynne, this sounds a great idea - and brilliant to have a bookshop do so much of the organising, as well as the visits ending up with happy experiences all round.

Has your friend noticed any difference in the school's take-up of authors who are doing free/promotional visits and those who ask for a fee?

Lynne Garner said...

They obviously want to go the free route first - who wouldn't? However as this is linked to promotional tours etc this limits when the school can book. What seems to be happening is if they are able to get a free visit they see the benefit then are more willing to pay for an author to come in. However if they can't by this time they are so sold on the idea that they manage to find the finances.

Penny Dolan said...

Intersting, Lynne, and I suppose having the bookseller as the intermediary really helps with the way it works out. Thanks.