Tag Archives: libraries

Teachers Can and Do

I always hated, and never believed,  that old chestnut that teachers are people who cannot actually do what they teach–nonsense! Teachers are those who share with us the technology (so to speak) of the art or craft  they have fallen in love with. They want to share with us what they love, share the how-to and the mystery of it.

They become educators when they draw out of us our desires to pursue a field to the limit of our ability, usually thanks to their support, inspiration, and ministrations of technique and method.

As a working journalist, story performer and more I want to share with others what I have learned and to inspire others to follow their dreams in whatever field they desire–esp in

writing and story performance. Yep, I talk and write for audiences. It’s that simple!

This month I have had the opportunity to be a teacher and to share my love of these two modes of communication on Donna Washington’s Blog, in Ruby for Women Magazine (writing only in that one. March starts a three-part series for those who want to get started in writing) and here, on this blog by reminding you that I have two new publications out this month–My children’s book, Rosa’s Shell and my book of poems, Languid Lusciousness with Lemon.

PS Today the literative.com site has one of my writings up as the prose winner of their winter contest!


Do check it out!

I’m happy to come and and talk to your school or group about writing (for adults, for children, poetry) story performance (or to give a story performance!)

Please do contact me and let me know if you would like me to come! Those who do, if they are fortunate enough also share what they know by teaching!



So, I am rarely at a loss for an idea so decided this would be a good way to organize my thoughts for the new year and give me marching orders for a series of new picture books.

Two days into it, already more than two ideas, but the discipline is a very good one. Also trying to channel creativity into a new haiku start each day.


Never Done

A writer’s work is never done!

I am busy working on PR, blog hops etc for Summer in a Bowl and also at the same time working on poems, my usual quota of articles, and coordinating with my publisher on revisions in the texts of the NEXT TWO Rosa books–Rosa and the Red Apron and Rosa’s Shell


Heather Zeissler of THEAQLLC has been wonderful to work with.

If you want me to come to your school to talk about the process of writing picture books or  to talk to your group about how I got started writing picture books, just email me at joanleotta@atmc.net




Take a Tour with C. Hope Clark

One of the best ways to sell your books, or perform is to go where people love books and story performance–libraries.

As a writer, I have given talks on my books and on writing in various libraries but have never gone about planning a tour of libraries around a state. One of the best bloggers, and a superb author of three mysteries has taken her brand on tour in a big way. C. Hope Clark.

I have followed her newsletter for almost the entire time she has been writing it! She is definitely one of my writing heroines. Recently she offered to provide a blog entry for those of her fans who asked. I requested a blog on touring libraries , hoping it would help all of you, who like me, struggle with marketing. Graciously, C. Hope Clark responded affirmatively and send the wonderful how-to article below.

Thank you! And for those of you out there looking for something to read, do sample her Carolina Slade mysteries!

Authors Touring Libraries

C. Hope Clark

Authors have a deep respect for librarians. As a child, I saw librarians as gatekeepers; guardians to all the knowledge in the world. Today many think of the Internet as the gatekeeper to reading material, but the Internet cannot think, advise, or open doors to new worlds like a librarian. So when I’m asked to speak at a library, I jump at the chance, as should most authors.

But how does one land a library gig?

Library opportunities come about through a myriad of ways. No two libraries are alike, just as no two librarians think the same. As a result, there is no one way to acquire a library opportunity, but we can discuss several.

Know somebody. Believe it or not, this is the easiest method to receive an invitation to speak. The majority of my library invitations come about via regular library members who ask the library to feature me. Librarians know their customers and pay attention to their needs, and those familiar faces can break the ice easier than your cold call.

Librarians as Readers. Two library events of mine originated because the librarian was a mystery fan. Upon hearing about one of my new releases, they contacted me. Yes, your librarians are avid readers, so pay attention to their likes, too. Chat with them. They don’t bite.

Friends of the Library. Libraries usually have a Friends of the Library (FOL) group to assist the library in meeting the needs of readers. They are a nonprofit organization and love to assist with library events. Not only can they ease your entrance into a library’s inner sanctum, but they may also invite you to events of their own. One of the best presentation experiences in my writing career involved my role as keynote speaker for the Newberry County Friends of the Library in South Carolina. Consider joining all the Friends of the Library groups in your town or county.

The Library Family. Libraries belong to a county, city or regional system. In my state, the libraries are usually categorized in a county system. For instance, I recently spoke at the Surfside Beach Library in Horry County which contains ten libraries in its system. A library assistant at Surfside made contact with the other libraries, recommending me for their programs. Libraries will trust each other’s judgment, so ask a librarian you trust to put in a good word for you at other locations.

Send a Packet. Go to http://www.publiclibraries.com to find all the libraries in your state, then send them an introductory packet, requesting to be placed on their agenda. Make sure you give them great ideas on what you can talk about.

Why speak at libraries?
The reasons are many, even though a library may not purchase a large volume of your books. Let’s explore a few of them.

Librarians are trusted, and their recommendations carry weight to many readers.

Libraries can purchase your books, and requests for your book dictates how m any copies they buy.

Libraries can introduce a new author to the world. To prime that pump, donate one book and offer to give an appearance.

Libraries feature special programs. Ask to play a part, whether it’s a program that involves several authors or just you. Make suggestions. Let them know you care and want their programs to be popular and successful. Ask them what they need and see if you can fill that want.

How do libraries impact book sales?

Book sales may be difficult to measure, because sales don’t consist of how many books you sell at a speaking invitation. Sure, you may sell a handful at your face-to-face event, but there’s a residual effect that continues after you leave.

Avid readers talk to each other, and these readers congregate at libraries, at Friends of the Library events, at programs, and in reading groups. Ten people may attend your speaking event, but each of them may tell five others. And if the library doesn’t carry enough copies of your book, then those readers may purchase instead.

When someone reads one of your books available at the library, and falls in love with your story, they may then decide to purchase your other books in support of you or simply to have a book the library doesn’t carry. And they may then suggest the library stock the book.

How to afford a library tour.

Libraries are not wealthy. Some will compensate an author and others won’t. Here are a few ideas on how to set up and afford a library tour.

Connect via the Friends of the Library (FOL). They often have the deeper pockets, and if they sponsor your event, you might walk away with an honorarium or travel expense.

Start close to home. Connect with all the libraries in your region first, keeping expenses down. Gather great testimonials from those librarians to help you reach further.

Charge a per person fee. If the event you propose is strong enough, maybe including a meal, workshop, or other performance, you might suggest the library, or FOL, feature a more widely advertised special event and charge admission.

Sell books at the event. Clarify well in advance if you wish to sell books. Many libraries have restrictions in this regard, and knowing ahead of time can avoid miscommunication.

Libraries remember authors, and librarians recommend them to readers. Stand near the checkout desk of most library long enough and you’ll hear the person behind the counter suggest a book or author. As a matter of fact, at the last library event I attended, the librarian had read my books, and immediately gave me two authors’ names who wrote along the same vein that I did. Their minds are like the libraries themselves, with mental shelves of titles and topics at the ready, to best direct a reader to the best stories.

BIO: C. Hope Clark is author of the Carolina Slade Mystery Series, covering rural crime the average urban dweller could never comprehend. http://www.chopeclark.com She is also editor of an award-winning website for writers – http://www.fundsforwriters.com – chosen by Writer’s Digest for its 101 Best Websites for Writers for the past 14 years.