Indie rockstar, queen of the nerds: A call to arms (of sorts)


Wanna make an indie author feel like the coolest person on the entire planet? I’m not going to tell you to buy their book, not going to encourage you to buy their book and subsequently write a thoughtful review on Amazon and Goodreads. I’m not even going to tell you to share said book on Facebook or Twitter. These are all very nice things to do for an indie author and, trust me, much appreciated.

However, if you really want to make an independent author feel like an indie rockstar, queen of the nerds (without having to spend a single dime or expend your jealously-hoarded social cache): Contact your local library and request that they stock your friend’s book.

It sounds silly, I know. It won’t make your friend any money beyond the dollar or two she receives for every copy she sells. In fact, your friend might lose money because people who might otherwise buy the book can now read it for free at their local library.

But independent authors are nerds of the highest order. And nerds recognize the value in libraries. We see them as treasure troves filled with ideas and stories, guarded and frequented by like-minded folk (readers) who love their treasure well enough to know that it should belong to everyone. And independent authors know that if their book finds a home in a library, it will be loved and shared–a whole world of possibility will be opened to it, people beyond the author’s immediate social circle stand a greater chance of reading it.

My friend Kristi Elkins, who actually flew to California for my book release party last August, got the ball rolling. She put in a Screen shot 2014-05-31 at 12.34.57 PMrequest for Scourge of the Righteous Haddock at the Monroe County Public Library in Indiana. Neither of us knew what to expect, but lo and behold, a few months later I received a Google alert that Scourge of the Righteous Haddock had been added to their catalog. I’ve spent the last couple of months stalking it online–yes, I have sunk to nerd depths that even Magic: The Gathering players find mockable–and to my intense delight, the book was immediately checked out. In fact, it’s been repeatedly checked out since it first arrived and every time I run that search and discover that there are zero available copies, the part of me that felt defeated by the immense effort required to promote a book is silenced.

That kids, is why you partner with an engaging artist like Lena Rushing and a brilliant artist/ graphic designer like Mignon Khargie, when it comes time to assemble and design your book cover. I fully recognize that if I had designed my book cover myself nobody would be checking my book out at the library. But they are. And as much as I would love to be properly published by a respected publishing company and writing novels as my full-time job, having my book in a library is perhaps even more satisfying because I’m coming at it from an underdog perspective.

But even if Knopf had published Scourge of the Righteous Haddock after winning a bidding war against Tor and Penguin, I’d still be thrilled to see something I wrote find a home in a library.

In fact, I walked the three blocks from my work to the San Luis Obispo County Library and donated a copy of my book. The Screen shot 2014-05-25 at 7.36.13 PMexperience was a little strange, and from my conversation with the librarian I gathered that independent authors don’t often walk into the library with a copy of their book. But they took it. And I waited for them to process it. And waited. And waited. All told, I think it took about six months for them to get the book into the system, but before I could race over to the library to photograph it looking all serious and literary with its library labeling, it was gone. Checked out. In fact, it’s been checked out ever since. (Did I mention what an incredible job Mignon did designing the cover? And how beautiful Lena’s artwork was? Because honestly, I owe them a great deal for that.)

So … as the situation currently stands, Scourge of the Righteous Haddock can be found in two libraries: one in Indiana and one in the town where I live. And while I don’t want to be greedy, I would love for my book to find more homes in more libraries–across the state, across the country, maybe a few stamps in its passport on international trips. So if you have a library–and you should, and probably do–and you’re feeling generous and would like to make this (or another) indie author incredibly, childishly happy, put in a request for Scourge of the Righteous Haddock (or another book) at your library. You can generally find the option on the library’s website, although you can probably make the request in person as well.

It might not sound like much, but it’s guaranteed to make me feel like an indie rockstar and that confidence helps immensely as I edit Vestal and write Book Three.



  1. Mignon Khargie says:

    WordPress should allow for mega likes.

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