By Porter Anderson / @Porter_Anderson
‘Standing Room Only’ Ahead of the new Skirball Writers’ Center
All you have to do is let Laurie Kincer, the incoming Coordinator of the new William N. Skirball Writers’ Center—opening October 18 at the South Euclid-Lyndhurst Branch—fill you in:
This year we created our first Indie Author Conference & Showcase, an all-day event that we plan to host annually for self-published writers.
At the morning conference, we had three speakers on self-publishing:
- Jim Kukral on “The New Rules of Self-Publishing”;
- J. Thorn on “How I Went From Selling 2 Books a Day to 200”; and
- BiblioBoard’s Carolyn Morris on “SELF-e: Connecting Writers with Their Readers, at the Library.”
At the afternoon showcase, we hosted 45 local, predominantly self-published authors who each had a free table at which to meet their fans and sell and sign books. We also invited writing organizations to exhibit at the conference, including the local chapters of Sisters in Crime and Romance Writers of America, along with the Western Reserve Writers’ Conference and IngramSpark.
Everything was free and open to the public. We were overwhelmed with the response: a standing-room only crowd of 175 for the morning conference and 250 visitors to the afternoon showcase.
These activities, of course, are exactly the kind of thing that SELF-e is created to support, and Cuyahoga’s program offers a specific page on its site that can be used both to learn about uploading a book using SELF-e, and about seeing the SELF-e Indie Ohio Collection.
Sometimes, as we make conference presentations around the country (and overseas) about SELF-e, we encounter a little skepticism among authors that librarians are genuinely interested in the work of local and self-publishing authors. Kincer will make you think again fast with the Cuyahoga’s warm welcome:
We’re planning a promotion of SELF-e Select to congratulate local authors who were chosen for inclusion in the national module. We’ll launch the promotion after our brand new William N. Skirball Writers’ Center opens. It’s one of the very few dedicated, public library-based writers’ centers in the U.S. We’re timing our Select promotion with an invitation to visit the Writers’ Center for writing or author programs or just to write.
One of Kincer’s main focal points is effectively getting SELF-e Select titles from the Ohio Indie Anthology in front of patrons. “It’s hugely important, she tells me, to authors and readers that the SELF-e Select titles from the Ohio Indie Anthology are integrated into the library’s online catalog. SELF-e Select authors want to have their books search-able and find-able just like any other book in the library’s collection.”
This involves a good, quick integration capability of MARC records (MARC stands for “machine readable record cataloging”) to be sure local authors’ work is as easily found and accessed as any other.
If I had to choose one word, it would be grateful. Authors are grateful for this help from their local library in getting exposure – local, state, and sometimes national – for their work. It aids immensely in the discovery of their work by readers far and wide.
And that, after all, is the SELF-e concept at work. Discovery of authors’ work, using the library system as an interface with readers, is the premise and promise at work here.
“Libraries are expanding from their traditional role as content providers to facilitators of content creation.” — Laurie Kincer
It’s an exciting time in many library systems working, as Cuyahoga is, to build bridges to local and regional talent and to introduce their patrons to their own creative neighbors.
“Libraries are expanding,” Kincer says, “from their traditional role as content providers to facilitators of content creation. This new role aligns with Cuyahoga County Public Library’s mission to promote reading, lifelong learning and civic engagement.”
And for the lucky writers of the Cuyahoga system, the best is yet to come, she says:
The new William N. Skirball Writers’ Center will do all that and more. It will inspire, engage and empower writers, promoting their creativity and self-expression and, even more, connecting them with the larger community of writers and readers.
Big congrats from SELF-e to the Cuyahoga team, and we want pictures from the Skirball Center opening!