Book promo and “Ten Things You Can Do To Support Canadian Authors”

I’m enjoying this month of book promo! I met some wonderful people at the ILGCN conference, at a WRIB book club meeting, and in a couple of days I will be heading to Washington (see the “public appearances” page for more info).

I’ve been thinking alot about the Canadian publishing industry and how I wish more people would support Canadian writers. Here is a little tip sheet I created. I wrote an earlier version of this when Stealing Nasreen first came out (and friends and family asked what they could do to help–and it was so heartwarming how they came through for me)…Feel free to add your comments.

10 Things You Can Do To Support Canadian Authors

1. Buy Canadian books, eh! Check out a variety, including those from small presses. Give them as birthday, Christmas, Kwaanza, Festivus and Hanukkah presents. (And don’t forget Valentine’s, Grandparents’ Day and International Day of the Consumer too!)

2. Tell 2 (or 20 friends) about your favourite book. Begin conversations that start with, “Hey! I just read this really fabulous book by an amazing Canadian author…” Carry it with you on the subway, leave it on your desk and other prominent places where people will see it.

3. Tell school or municipal librarians about a book you love. Place a hold on it until it’s available(many libraries use hold statistics to determine the popularity of a book and will order more copies based on this).

4. Ask your local bookstore to order in the book if it’s not already on the shelf. Suggest they invite the author in for a reading. Support independent bookstores whenever you can.

5. Write book reviews on your blog, for the local paper, or your employee newsletter. Many online bookstores (like Amazon) and book blogs have options where you can offer a two sentence review or a ‘thumbs up’ recommendation.

6. When authors leave promotional postcards around, take a few and (actually) mail them to your friends!

7. If you are in a book club, or know someone who is, suggest the book. Sometimes, authors will visit book clubs, so make sure to invite them. I’ve been to several and talked to one group over speaker phone!

8. Suggest an author as a keynote speaker at your next annual general meeting, speakers’ series or special event.

9. Use social networking sites to promote the book or author. Mention them in “status updates” or in special notes. Look for author groups or fan pages and join them. Here’s mine:

10. Vote for politicians who care about the arts and who support arts funding.

Back from Montreal

I had a terrific visit to Montreal this past weekend. BIG thanks to Trish Salah and Yasmine Amor of the Simone de Beauvoir Institute, who invited me. Also thanks to the 2110 Centre who hosted and the Concordia Coop Bookstore who set up the book table. And I am very pleased to have received financial assistance from the Canada Council for the Arts through the Writers’ Union of Canada.

I always find the discussion part of readings to be the most fun and interesting. People usually ask a variety of questions, and now that I’ve done over 50 readings in 25 cities, I’ve heard many interesting questions that have made me pause and think on my feet. The Montreal discussion continued for over 40 minutes with queries about unrequited love, political pedagogy in fiction, and the complexities about writing about one’s own ethno-racial and religious communities. What fun!

I have 4 more readings in November, one of my busiest book promo months since Stealing Nasreen came out. I hadn’t expected this; usually the first 6 months after a book’s release are the most frenetic. I’ve learned so much about book and self-promotion since June, 2007 and the biggest lesson seems to be that it is unpredictable…

If you’re in the DC area, hope to see you at the Outwrite Author Series