Posted by Lorraine (L.L.) Bartlett
Last week I attended the New York Library Association's annual conference, this year held in Buffalo, NY. Since MURDER ON THE MIND takes place in Buffalo, it felt good to reconnect with the setting of my book. And I met a lot of wonderful librarians who seemed truly interested in my work.
I was there as part of the Mystery Writers of America's New York chapter. My "appearance" was at the second-annual "Author Garden." The authors represented a number of genres, but thanks to the chapter's presence, most heavily mystery. There were also children's and non-fiction authors.
MWA-NY was there to drum up interest from librarians for NY authors. For the most part, the librarians were extremely enthusiastic, even if they themselves didn't read mystery. They were looking out for their patrons and were happy to pick up bookmarks, postcards, brochures, and business cards.
Alas, MWA-NY consists 99.9 percent of New Yorkers from New York city and environs. Those of us "upstate" are a very small minority, and it felt that way. Not that there was any kind of animosity or bias...but I have to admit that being a western NY author, I didn't exactly fit in. That may have been reinforced by the fact that the majority of librarians I spoke to were centered around the Long Island and Hudson Valley areas. Those are places I'm not likely to be able to visit any time soon. They were, quite naturally, more interested in talking to NY City-based authors who are better able to travel (especially in inclement weather) to their locales to speak.
Sadly, the MWA-NY chapter president has decided that the venue isn't large enough to invest time/interest in in the future. I certainly don't agree with that sentiment. Naturally, she's looking out for the welfare of the entire chapter--and the bulk of the chapter members are located in Manhattan, Long Island, New Jersey, and the Philadelphia area. That doesn't mean I can't/won't participate in the conference in the future (you don't have to be affiliated with an entity like MWA to attend the conference as a guest author). I'm just sorry that she has discounted the dedicated 1000+ librarians of New York as being too small an audience to cater to.
That said, I had a great time connecting with members of my "local" (I'm 350 miles away) chapter. Wendi Corsi Staub is a wonderful author and truly a class act. I got to meet Anthony-award-winning author Chris Grabenstein, who, like me has an essay in HOW I GOT PUBLISHED; met up with my local pal Charles Benoit (who also has an essay in How I Got Published); fellow Five Star author Jeff Markowitz; Tom Schreck; Jack Gertz, and local non-fiction authors Wendy S. Enelow and Arnold G. Boldt, who specialize in resume and cover letter writin, and probably a few others I'm forgetting.
I handed out copies of the chapbook for my next Jeff Resnick mystery, DEAD IN RED; brochures, and business cards for this very blog. (Sheila had them made and they are extremely beautiful...and I don't have to be shy saying that because my hubby did the artwork.) I passed out my brochures that not only tell about the Murder On The Mind reprint, but also my Amazon Shorts story, and my upcoming Berkley Prime Crime Booktown Mystery series (under the pen name Lorna Barrett).
All in all it was a very good day. I'm not sure I'd be willing to travel to Saratoga Springs next year to attend (just because of logistics), but I want to go back to Buffalo in 2009 for the privledge of meeting more NY state librarians.