On November 9, Kingston, Ontario authors gathered together for an afternoon event at Chapters. I wouldn’t have missed it for the world, but — my goodness — it was a busy day for me. Bobbing between an outlying swimming pool and Kingston’s Chapters — whilst a large family get-together occurred in my home — proved to be exhausting. But hey, when book promotion and exposure beckons, who would dare refuse?
A sizable table boasted stacks of familiar titles by Young Kingston authors Y.S. Lee, Mary Alice Downie, Ann-Maureen Owens, and me. We were joined, too, by acclaimed novelist Leanne Lieberman. Young Kingston member Christine Fader snapped these lovely photos and welcomed shoppers to investigate our books and ask questions. We greeted some friends, met avid readers, signed books, and handed out bookmarks. All in all, it was a fun afternoon. And later, when I got home, there was a delicious meal and decadent desserts awaiting me. Ahh!
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Eat locally. Read locally. I like it.
I have to say, I think this is the coolest thing. We’ve all been hearing about the importance of shopping locally and supporting local farmers for several years now. Then, the 100-Mile Diet evolves with families, chefs, and restauranteurs seeking fresh, local ingredients for their dinner tables. And now this new twist: the 100-Mile BOOK Diet. (If anyone knows why it is “miles” not “kilometres,” please let me know.) It’s curious because the 100-mile diet was started by two Canadians, Alisa Smith and James MacKinnon.
At a past Young Kingston meeting (that’s my local children and young adult authors’ group) we were talking about the importance of the communities being supportive of local writers. As writers, we all agreed it is enriching to feel that your community is reading books by local authors, attending book launches, inviting authors (and paying them) to speak at public venues, and so on. Interacting with readers is so inspiring for writers. Seeing the joy on the face of a young reader warms my heart. Finding out from your local bookstore that your books are selling is even better. It shows that consumers are “voting with their wallets” and really, truly showing that they value what you do.
Unfortunately, things don’t always play out in this way. My kids bring home American and British bestsellers frequently. Those are the books they hear the most about from their friends, in the media, etc. Those are the books with the biggest buzz.
Let’s go back to the Young Kingston meeting, I mentioned. At one point I said something like, “It’s too bad people don’t see supporting local writers in the same way they do supporting local farmers.” I figured it was a similar issue. Different, yeah, but, when you think about it, not so different. Still, I felt a bit sheepish saying it. Perhaps I was feeling guilty about wanting to ride on the shirt-tails of another group’s band wagon. If you think about it, though, everyone likes to feel that they are valued by their local community. And writers, like farmers, aren’t always valued in a monetary sense, so being valued in the community is all the more important to writers’, and farmers’ well being.
Check out the Read Local: The 100-Mile Book Diet. There is a “Browse by Author” tab that makes searching for specific books and authors easy. There are reviews and quotes and lots of info. I placed four of my books where there is a geographic significance of some sort. Click the titles to go to the 100-Mile Book Map: Dazzling Women Designers, Amazing Women Athletes, Making Shadow Puppets, and The Wilderness Cookbook. Have fun browsing the books in your area.
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