This week I'm out doing library talks, and that means getting those ducks in a row. Do I have enough cards, books, handouts, and such? How will I look after a long drive on a hot day? And worst of all, will anyone care enough to show up?
Second-time authors aren't exactly hot properties, and while libraries are usually willing to let me do my schtick, there's no guarantee patrons will show up to watch. I combat the no-name problem by approaching with a theme rather than just "Come Here and Buy My Book." I've done a ton of research on mysteries and mystery writers, and I lead a talk in which attendees share experiences with favorite writers, books, or subgenres. I also have other subjects of interest to readers so libraries can ask me back once they find out I'm not dull as dishwater.
Does it work? That depends on the area, the weather, and the mood of the local residents. Some librarians tell me frankly that they don't get many people who read for pleasure, and that's sad. Others are thrilled because mysteries are so popular that patrons flock to anything that concerns them. More than anything else I consider these talks a chance to get recognition, so that when a person sees my name or my book, a bell rings somewhere that could cause a positive reaction.
No guarantees, of course. It's like anything else in this business: You rolls your dices and you takes your chances.