Bookstore Makes Profitable Link Between Authors and Readers

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Author James Collier signs his book at the Book Cove's all-day local author series on August 7.
Other participating local authors were Joe Ryan and Kate Wenner (above).
Below, author Kevin F. McMurray with Book Cove owner Chuck Werner (below left).

On Saturday, August 7, the Book Cove in Pawling, New York, hosted an all-day author series with seven local authors, who each took an hour to discuss their work and sign books during the series. Genres and topics ranged from fiction and children's lit to science fiction and chess to running. The authors were James Collier (My Brother Sam Is Dead, Scholastic Paperbacks), Helen Lester (The Tacky series, Houghton Mifflin), Kevin F. McMurray (Dark Descent, International Marine/Ragged Mountain Press), Dr. Joseph D. Ross (I Believe There Is No Death, Noble House), Patrick Whalen (Brain Bombardment: A Runner's Diary, Llumina Press), Kate Wenner (Dancing With Einstein, Scribner), and Joe Ryan (The Teacher's Solution, Authorhouse).

Book Cove manager Nancy Tanner said the event, which ran from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., was well attended and nearly 100 books of the participating authors were sold, along with many others. "It was a very successful day for us," she said.

Tanner had conducted events with multiple authors before, though never with more than four or five. The diverse range of writers "sparked sales," she said, adding that the group created a synergy that spurred customers to buy books, not only by the author they came to see, but also by authors they might not have known previously. Tanner told BTW, "Providing direct communication from the author to the public is always so helpful [for sales]."

Tanner said she was "lucky" to have so many fine authors nearby. For example, Collier's Newbery Medal-winning book, My Brother Sam Is Dead, is on many school lists for recommended reading. "It was a great treat to have him here," she said.

Tanner reported that many of the writers spoke about their writing process and offered advice. Collier said, "Well, I say this to kids all the time. The most important thing you can learn is to use your own language correctly." He also stated, "You [must] be a good reader." Helen Lester addressed some of the difficulties of writing and confessed to the audience that she "still gets rejected." And Wenner covered the exploratory nature of the creative process: "Sometimes I think you have to start writing before you know what you're going to write. Just start the process." She added, "My father always said to us, Life's a journey. It's not about the destination."

The Book Cove plans to repeat the series. "We're always trying to create events that will bring information to the community," said Tanner. "I think this kind of emphasis on authors from [the general area] continues to nurture interest in where they're from and what they're like. It's a source of pride when authors from the community create books we can all grow from." --Karen Schechner