I was looking forward to reading my monthly e-newsletter from Bestsellers Café, the bookstore/coffee shop in Medford, Massachusetts. I always like to see what books they recommend and the listing of upcoming author and live music events. However, I was saddened to see that the latest email was a good-bye letter. Bestsellers Café will be closing down at the end of January because of “unfavorable terms of a lease agreement.” I am so sorry to hear this. Bestsellers Café showcases the work of rising authors and has a section devoted to books published by local authors and independent presses. A couple of months ago they invited me in to speak about the essay I got published in the Chicken Soup for the Soul anthology. The manager gave me a lovely introduction before I gave my talk. Only a handful of copies of the book were sold, but I was invited to come back the next time I have something published.
Writers who are trying to get established depend on this country’s privately owned and independent bookstores like Bestsellers Café for support. You’d have to be a highly successful commercial author before Barnes and Noble would consider hosting an event for you. There’s nothing to be done about the closing of Bestsellers Café, but let it be a reminder to all of us of the importance of supporting locally owned bookstores. Because if we don’t, they will cease to exist.
A few days ago one of my essays, “Processing ‘Go Back to Where You Came from When Where You Came From is Here,” was published on National Public Radio affiliate WBUR’s Cognoscenti ideas and opinions web page. A writer friend of mine in the National Writers Union Boston Chapter, Barbara Beckwith, had been suggesting for months that I contribute to the site–she’s been published there several times–but I had no interest because I prefer to see my work in a printed publication so it will have an indefinite shelf life. However, by publishing online I’ve been able to get immediate feedback from the public in the “comments” section of the web page and a few people have tweeted the link to my story.
I don’t have a copy of my essay in a bound publication, but it’s reached many more people.
If you’re thinking about hosting a book party for your organization, but don’t know where to start, let Boston National Writers Union guide you along. Each January, NWU books space for member authors to display and sell the books they’ve had published during the past year. This coming January the party will be held at the Cambridge Family YMCA and will feature William Martin, historical fiction writer and author of ten novels, a brief reading by six NWU authors of new books and a silent auction in which massages and vacation home rentals may be up for grabs.
Of course, a party wouldn’t be complete without refreshments. The event will be catered by a nearby Middle Eastern restaurant.
The book party is open to the public and should help members build an audience within the organization and in general.
The book party is one of the most popular events from NWU. Why not make it a program your organization can sponsor?