We talk a lot about teaming up as authors to accomplish our goals. Sometimes that’s critiquing each other’s work. Other times it can be pairing up for a book signing or car pooling to a festival. But what if you really harnessed the power of the writing community in your neighborhood?
I was honored to be involved in a recent project that did just that. Held in Charleston, SC, the Lowcountry Initiative of Literary Arts (more fondly referred to as LILA) enlisted the help of no less than 24 traditional and independent authors for a four-hour book fair, complete with book signing and sales, raffle giveaways of signed books by the authors, and a silent auction that included cool items like a two-day writers retreat, Kirkus membership, social media training and lunch with best-selling author Mary Alice Monroe.
Why would top-selling, award-winning authors like Mary Alice, Bernard Cornwell, Micah Nathan, Bret Lott, Elise Blackwell or Andra Watkins come spend their Sunday afternoon at a debut book event? Sure, maybe to sell or sign a few books, but more importantly…
To support a common cause.
With a twist on the typical literacy issue, LILA decided that proceeds from this and additional fundraising efforts would go to fund the build and installation of 10 Little Free Libraries in the community. NOTE: If you haven’t checked out the Little Free Libraries project, I’d encourage you to click on the link and learn more — it’s a tangible, feel good way to promote book reading in your own town, too!
And, thanks to the success of the inaugural fundraiser and the generosity of spirit of the gathered authors and supporters in the community, 8 of the 10 have already been funded, a build has been scheduled and well before this time next year, there will be ten new, registered, “Take a Book, Leave a Book” boxes around town.
Sure, the participating authors will get some attention, and yes, they’ll all sell more books. But deeper than that, the harnessed power of these authors is producing real impact in the community at large. And what better way to demonstrate the value of authors and books today? What far-reaching impact can you have as an author?
You can do it, too!
Or perhaps you already have? And it doesn’t take two dozen authors; it can begin with just a handful. You don’t need to raise thousands; it doesn’t need to be a book box. Just find a way, together as authors, to harness your own power to impact your communities.
Already Harnessing the Power of Local Authors?
We invite you to share with your comments below or so we can continue to shout about the positive difference authors are making in our cities… and our world.
About the Little Free Library Project
The Little Free Library (http://littlefreelibrary.org ) promotes literacy and the love of reading by building free book exchanges worldwide. A Little Free Library is a “take a book, return a book” free book exchange, where anyone may pick up a book or two, or bring a book to share. Each Library itself is a piece of neighborhood art that functions like a mini-town square. As of July 2015, there are over 30,000 registered Little Free Library book exchanges in all 50 U.S. states and over 70 countries around the world.
The Lowcountry Initiative for the Literary Arts (LILA) is a 501(c)3 literary outreach organization. Its mission is to nurture and promote the literary arts in South Carolina. A board of directors — authors, poets, editors, teachers, booksellers and local supporters of literature – work to fulfill LILA’s mission. www.lilaconnects.com