April 24, 2024

Library’s “Local Author Day” Offers Several Literary Events

By Anne Levin

It is billed as Local Author Day. But the annual event at Princeton Public Library, now in its 13th year, is actually a weekend-long celebration of area writers, their books, and the strategies that go into getting them published.

The celebration April 26-28 will blend live and virtual presentations designed to appeal to a range of ages and preferences. The main event is Saturday from 1-4 p.m., when 42 local authors take over the library’s first floor to sign books and meet the public. Two online workshops and one in person are also on the agenda.

“This is always a thrilling event for me,” said Adult Services Librarian Nora Walsh. “Every year, we streamline the process to make it better for everybody. We’re taking a hybrid approach that has worked since COVID. We have the author event in person, but also the flexibility to have presentations and workshops virtually, which allows us to reach a wider audience.”

The focus this year is on helping authors get the word out. At the virtual “Book Promotion Strategies” on Friday evening at 6:30 p.m., publicity expert Leah Paulos will share hints about effectively positioning books and finding targeted media outlets for them. Saturday at 11 a.m., librarian and author Gabrielle Esposito hosts a “Revision and Editing Workshop,” also on Zoom. Esposito plans a comprehensive exploration of the revision and editing process, helping writers know how to create clear, error-free content.

In the library’s STEAM Studio on Sunday at 12:30 p.m., author Megan McCafferty will lead “Prepping for Publication,” geared to young writers in grades five to eight. Participants can bring their works-in-process to share with the group, and learn how to prepare a pitch for publication in youth literary journals. Earlier that day at 11 a.m., architect Robert Hillier (a Town Topics shareholder) will take part in a Book Brunch event in the Community Room, focused on Hillier: Selected Works, written with his late wife, Barbara Hillier.

At the author event, writers of books for children and young readers will be positioned in the library’s main area on the first floor. Authors of books for adults will be at tables in the Community Room. Some of the writers are returning participants; others are new. The annual event always attracts more author applicants than the library can accommodate.

“I can’t speak to other town libraries, but it does feel unusual to have this many,” said Walsh. “There is definitely a large demographic here in Princeton, a nice, local pool of authors.”

The goal is to find a balance between genres of books, “so people can come and experience not just one thing,” said Walsh. “It’s a little different every year. We like to have at least a small collection of works for young readers, and we get some really lovely ones for kids. It just always depends on the crop of applicants.”

A browse through the book covers of this year’s participants on the library’s website yields an eclectic mix of topics, from serious self-help to poetry and fiction. There are some familiar names: A Tailor-Made Man by Nick Hilton, of the Hiltons Princeton clothing store on Witherspoon Street; and Pie for my Birthday by Jen Carson, owner of LiLLiPiES Bakery.

“At an event like this, part of the fun is to get something signed. And you have the author right here,” said Walsh. “Getting to interact with the authors is very special.”

All events of the weekend are free. For more information, visit princetonlibrary.org.