Tuesday, March 20, 2012

SinC at PLA: Presenting 'Perfect Partners in Crime'

By Mary Boone

Sisters in Crime participated in last week's Public Library Association (PLA) conference in Philadelphia with a very popular exhibit booth and a well-received panel titled "Perfect Partners in Crime" celebrating public libraries and the books we read.

Presentation proposals for PLA must be submitted two years in advance of the conference (which is only held every two years), which can make writing a proposal, and then following up with a panel proposal written so far in advance, a real challenge.

I had a front row seat for the proceedings and, from my perspective, the panel was a hit. A 600-seat auditorium appeared to me to be close to a third to half full of librarians there to hear to SinC board members Frankie Bailey, Hank Phillippi Ryan, Cathy Pickens, and Nancy Martin talk to librarian "rock star" Nancy Pearl about books, libraries, a love of reading, and Sisters in Crime.

The conversation flowed from the practical (a little background about SinC and its resources including info about the continuing We Love Libraries drawings and what makes a good author visit program) to the theoretical (how best to connect readers to books and how helpful are genre and sub genre classifications) and back again.

Hank moderated the panel, and started with a "stump the librarian" quiz, which served to bring the audience immediately into all aspects of the conversation that followed. She'd asked the panelists in advance what books had a profound influence on them growing up. She read a few sentences from the opening of each and challenged the audience to identify the book and match it to the panelist. The audience identified Nancy Pearl’s and Cathy Pickens's books, but were stumped by Frankie Bailey’s and Nancy Martin's.

Early in the panel, Hank made Nancy Pearl an honorary member of Sisters in Crime. Nancy P. played a key role in last summer's SinC Summit Team project, when the team went to the ALA Annual Conference in New Orleans to talk with librarians about how readers find books.

Later in the conversation, Nancy P., who pioneered the one city/one book movement, commented that one of the things she valued most about SinC is the organization's commitment to building community around books and reading and its commitment to libraries. She said, in that respect, librarians and Sisters in Crime had common goals.

Nancy Martin wanted to know how Nancy Pearl, who has been called "America's Librarian" and has come to be known as a literary "tastemaker," finds the books she reviews and recommends in her popular Book Lust series and on National Public Radio.

Nancy P. said she receives numerous copies of books from publishers and other sources and that she will try to read any book but, if she isn't engaged within the first 50 pages, she stops reading. This is a strategy she recommends to all readers.

"Life is short, and the library is large," she's often said.

The time may not be right, and she will put aside a book, and come back to it later. But, having said that, she went on to say that she believes that most of us (herself included) find the books we read and love from recommendations from friends.

I watched the audience for its reactions, and saw librarians furiously taking notes and listening with concentration to the discussion. A number of librarians approached panel members afterward to say they thought this was one of the best panels of the conference. Bear in mind the time slot was late Friday afternoon, the last full day of the conference, so folks were conference-weary, thinking about getting to dinner or packing for the trip home, etc.; in short, not necessarily an easy audience to please.

Another measure of the success of the panel is that our PLA panel/conference programming liaison, Ronald Block, approached me after the session to say that PLA was looking forward to making a panel from Sisters in Crime an on-going part of its conference programming.

As plans for this panel were coming together before the conference, we began thinking of it as a "dream book discussion group." Every indication Friday afternoon was that the audience thought of it this way, too.

Mary Boone, Library Liaison for Sisters in Crime, says she is happy to be a reader and lucky that, as a librarian, she gets paid to turn readers on to books. She encourages everyone to make sure their library or libraries have entered the Sisters in Crime "We Love Libraries" book grant lottery. Information and a registration form can be found on the SinC website page linked here.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

SinC Supports Member Book Signings at the LA Times Book Festival

Sisters in Crime author members worldwide have three days left to sign up for a spot in the Los Angeles chapter’s book-signing booth at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books on Saturday, April 21, and Sunday, April 22, 2012.

A grant from Sisters in Crime is enabling the chapter to invite any SinC member to participate in the renowned book festival that attracts as many as 150,000 book lovers each year.

The chapter will schedule as many as seven authors for each two-hour slot - Saturday from 10-12, 12-2, 2-4, and 4-6 and Sunday from 10-12, 12-2, and 2-4. Authors should select the time of their choice and one alternate signing time.

To take advantage of this opportunity, SinC members must contact LA chapter liaison Kathy Kingston by Tuesday, March 20. Use the online information form linked here to make sure you provide all of the necessary information. The form will be sent directly to Kathy.

To participate, members should make sure their dues are current. You can confirm your dues status on the Sisters in Crime website here.

Traditionally published authors whose books are in print, returnable and available through a distributor should include the title of their most recent book and up to four titles from their backlist. For all books, include the publisher and the ISBN number. Space limitations prevent the chapter from selling more than five titles from any author.

For traditionally published authors whose books are out of print and for self-published authors, the bookseller will sell your books on consignment with a 60/40 split. On the day of your signing, bring your books and a sheet of paper listing your name, address, email and phone number for payment purposes. On the same sheet, write the title of each book, how many copies of each book you’re bringing and the price of each copy, which should be the same price you are charging at other festival booths. Additional instructions are available on the Sisters in Crime website here.

Maps and parking fees will be emailed to participating authors when they are available.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Librarians and Booksellers Solve Mysteries Every Day

Sisters in Crime board member Jim Huang reports that there’s been a great deal of author member interest in SinC’s first “Booksellers and Librarians Solve Mysteries Every Day” celebration scheduled for Saturday, April 21, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., local time.

The festivities went global rapidly. The first offer of participation came from a SinC member in Hawaii. Not long afterward, a member planning to be in Paris on April 21 offered to find a spot at a bookstore or library in the City of Light.

Earlier this week, SinC members received an email message from Jim announcing that Sisters in Crime will celebrate 25 years of working with librarians and booksellers in support of women writing crime fiction with a special one-day in-store, in-library event. To participate in the “Solving Mysteries Every Day” celebration on April 21, SinC authors will shadow a librarian or bookseller for six hours to learn exactly how they solve mysteries daily. As a volunteer in the stacks, on the floor and behind the scenes, the members will do whatever a manager asks of the regular staff—shelving, bagging, sweeping, assisting patrons, pulling holds, making recommendations, taking out the trash, checking in returned books, etc.

To spread the word about the way booksellers and librarians serve their communities and assist readers, the participating members will be tweeting and posting messages to blogs and to Facebook about their experiences—before, during (especially) and after the event. This is SinC’s chance to shine a bit of a spotlight on these hardworking—and often unsung—heroes and heroines of our communities.

The goal is to cover as many locations as possible, with one SinC member author at each location.

The participation process was outlined in the email sent to members this week. Specific questions about the process should be directed to Jim Huang at jim[at]themysterycompany.com.

Sisters in Crime has set up an event-specific website at www.sisterssolvemysteries.com, featuring additional program details. The site is sparse at the moment, but will be built up with answers to questions that come our way. We’re also setting up a Facebook event page, a Twitter hashtag and other forms of virtual and social media to spread the word about the event.

The celebration begins at 10:00 a.m. on April 21.

Librarians solve mysteries every day.

Booksellers solve mysteries every day.

Let’s thank them for their efforts!

So, tell us, where will you be on April 21?

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Inside inSinC: March 2012

Have you spent some time yet with your March edition of inSinC, the Sisters in Crime Quarterly?

As you no doubt already know, inSinC, edited by Molly Weston, provides a treasure trove of feature articles, columns from industry experts and useful news for SinC member writers and readers. But did you know that Molly is a recipient of a 2012 Raven Award from the Mystery Writers of America? Here at Sisters in Crime, we are very proud of her accomplishments in the field of crime fiction—and we are very glad to have Molly at the helm of the inSinC Quarterly.

The March 2012 issue of inSinC features an in-depth look at the new world of publishing, courtesy of Marcia Talley and Barbara Fister, who report on Sisters in Crime’s third annual “SinC Into Great Writing” workshop. In addition to details on the information-packed day-long session, Marcia and Barbara provide links to SinC’s first-ever professional development video series, featuring free online access to more than two hours of video taped during the workshop’s presentations.

SinC board member Jim Huang launches news of Sisters in Crime’s first-ever “Booksellers Solve Mysteries Every Day, Librarians Solve Mysteries Every Day” event with an article on the celebration. Find out what he's got planned for Saturday, April 21, in libraries and bookstores nationwide.

“Promote or Perish” by Dorothy Francis provides a roadmap to an unexpected promotional opportunity for writers in art-loving communities nationwide. “SinC Loves Libraries” by Debra H. Goldstein shares the story of a magical day with Carolyn Hart and Eve Sandstrom (JoAnna Carl) at the Lawton, Okla. Library, the recipient of a $1,000 SinC We Love Libraries! grant for book purchases.

SinC Library Liaison Mary Boone offers information on author opportunities at the American Library Association annual conference in Anaheim, Calif., June 25 – 28, 2012. And SinC Review Monitoring Coordinator Barbara Fister provides an update on SinC’s review monitoring project, complete with a call for volunteer monitors.

The regular inSinC columns include Sisters in Crime president Frankie Bailey’s report on recent and upcoming SinC initiatives (including SinC Into Great Writing IV with presenter Nancy Pickard and plans related to The Writers’ Police Academy 2012), SinC administrator Beth Wasson’s update on an array of important SinC technology initiatives and meeting opportunities, “Law & Fiction: Getting Facts Straight” by attorney Leslie Budewitz and “Priming Your Brainstorm” by forensic psychology and criminal justice professor Katherine Ramsland, Ph.D.

In addition, the latest inSinC provides other news you can use, including “Chapter Highlights,” news of special events that may just offer some ideas for your own chapter activities; “Conferences and Happenings,” an updated event calendar; “The Docket,” offering the latest publishing news from your Sisters; and “Writing Contests,” a look at award-winning opportunities.

Let us know what you think about the latest edition of inSinC. We'd love to hear from you!