In Conversation with Local Indie Publisher

On April 15 Fairfax Library Foundation will partner with Curiosity Quills Press, a local indie publisher, for our next Barnes & Noble Bookfair Fundraiser. Curiosity Quills is sending six authors to the event, to chat with patrons and sign books.

This collaboration inspired a conversation between the Foundation’s Director of Development, Abigail Fine, and Curiosity Quills’ Managing Partner, Alisa Gus, about libraries and the publishing industry. Check out the excerpt below, and see the whole conversation on CQ page!

The Foundation Interviews the Publisher

Abigail: What is one thing you wish librarians knew about small publishers? What is something the average reader should know?

Alisa: For the professionals in our industry, I guess I would say I want you guys to know that we (quite a lot of us, anyway!) work just as hard as the Big 5 to bring the perfectly edited, entertaining content to our readers, libraries, and partner bookstores.

And as for the readers… well, that – and that we can get away with cooler, edgier, timelier material – because of our shorter time to production, and our ability to pick based on what we and our readers would like – rather than please the accountants only after the bottom line in their P&Ls.

Abigail: We’re so glad to be connected on this first event, and we have plans for the future! What are your thoughts on how libraries (and library Foundations) and publishers can work together?

I am pretty psyched as well! SOOO glad you invited us join in. I think joining together two sides of the publishing coin can only benefit the readers, AND help us get the best bang for our buck, in terms of offering discounts, building joint awareness of the challenges we’re all facing today, bringing the books in even before publication for readers to check out – and render their opinions on, and letting both social networks comingle – if you ask me (which yeah, you kinda did!) – there can never be enough books, just like there can never be enough bookworms to gobble them up!

Abigail: What would you want to see in the library or library programs that you don’t find already? (I’m guessing, coffee!)

Alisa: OK, how did you know? Also cats! A lot of cats. Cats are the writer’s (and editor’s) best friends.

Seriously though – I think more beta readers would not never be amiss, as well as a way to facilitate more opportunities for writer talks and author connections for the purpose of forming crit groups.

I have a young author acquaintance (she’s a sophomore in high school!) who is looking to work with other authors in her area – and so far found her opportunities limited in this respect. I am thinking authors would very much benefit from the libraries functioning as this sort of resource – and the libraries would find being visited, talked about, and donated to a hell of a lot more often. For more answers from Alisa, visit the CQ site!

The Publisher Interviews the Foundation

Alisa: Interesting how social media works. We wouldn’t have met if not for that Tweet pitch contest. Are you a believer? Or do you think person-to-person, live interaction is where it’s at, when it comes to building yourself up as an author?

Abigail: The writing, reading and library communities on social media are quite impressive, and I’m a total believer. I’ve found countless book recommendations, critique partners and beta readers for my writing projects, fantastic articles with advice for writing, publishing and library programming, and I’ve connected with industry professionals through the Twitter contests and hashtags. I can’t say the person-to-person is not important, but there is a lot of connecting to do online. And we have Twitter to thank for this partnership that will turn into person-to-person in a few short days on April 15!

Alisa: We are local to one another, both around DC area. Do you think there’s something to having a local publisher, or do Big 5 have it right, keeping themselves to NYC? Oh, and have you heard about an attempt to move BEA to Chicago as response to the skyrocketing prices at the traditional Big Apple venue? Unfortunately, the attendance dropped like a rock, and I am wondering – is there a reason geographical location still carries so much weight in this business?

Abigail: Change is hard, isn’t it? Our library system did send folks to BEA in Chicago, but we heard the turn-out wasn’t the same. It’s too bad. I’ll report in the next section that reputation does matter for our library selectors, and that industry reputation is still centered on NYC.

But at the library branch level, we love all things local. The Library and Library Foundation cannot afford to bring in guest authors from out of town very often, unless the author or their publisher agrees to cover their own expenses as an in-kind donation. So connecting with local authors and publishers is critical for us in creating exciting, meaningful programming for our library patrons. Find more answers from Abigail on the CQ site!

Meet the Authors on April 15!

If you want to hear more about our local indie press, Curiosity Quills, stop by the Barnes & Noble Fairfax between 1pm – 4pm on April 15 to chat with the authors. The Curiosity Quills signing schedule is below, and you can learn all about the Bookfair here. We’re sure the authors can answer more of your questions about working with a local press!

1-2pm – Book signing with authors Marianne Kirby and Michael Shean

2-3pm – Book signing with authors Keith Fentonmiller and Adriana Arrington

3-4pm – Book signing with authors JP Sloan and Courtney Sloan


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