ASHEVILLE—At the North Carolina Writers' Network 2019 Fall Conference, Anne Fitten Glenn will lead the session "Creative Ways to Promote Your Book (and Yourself)."
Fall Conference runs November 8-10 at the Doubletree by Hilton Asheville-Biltmore. Registration is now open.
Award-winning author and journalist Anne Fitten Glenn has been writing about and working in the beer business since the 1990s. She is the author of two books, Western North Carolina: A Mountain Brew History (2018) and Asheville Beer: An Intoxicating History of Mountain Brewing (2012), both published by Arcadia/The History Press. She was the national public relations director and east coast marketing manager for Oskar Blues Brewery for three years. Currently, she consults to breweries across the country in the arenas of communications and public relations as well as writing for both beverage trade and consumer magazines. She pens a regular “Mountain Brews” article for Edible Asheville and has written for numerous other publications, including All About Beer, Smoky Mountain Living, Edible Aspen, WNC Magazine, Asheville Citizen-Times, and www.CraftBeer.com. She's lived in and written about the Asheville area since 1997.
This year, NCWN has been celebrating libraries, so we asked Anne to give us her best library memory.
Here's what she wrote:
“You must have a two documents verifying your permanent address,” said the librarian in her posh British accent. She looked at me through reading glasses that barely hung on the tip of her nose.
I wondered if I’d stepped into a Monty Python skit. But no, I was in the foyer of The British Library. And the woman who epitomized the forbidding librarian stereotype in my head was not an actor.
I felt, not for the first time, that being an American in London was a disadvantage. As a Southerner, I know folks who are bitter about a war that took place decades before they were born. In the UK, I’d engage with those still angry over one that ended centuries ago.
“If you want me to act the part of a brash revolutionary, disdainful of king and country, I will do so, ma’am.” I didn’t say that out loud, of course.
I’d moved to the U.K. on a whim after graduate school. After twenty-six years in the state of Georgia, I was desperate to live somewhere different for a spell. That's when I learned I could get a six-month post-graduate visa to work abroad.
I knew no one in London. I didn’t have a job lined up. But I kind of could speak the language.
I figured I could sling beer or work in a bookstore. Turned out my sister’s roommate’s uncle offered me the pull-out couch in his living room in exchange for house-sitting while he traveled. He worked in television and introduced me to a friend who was starting a small documentary production company. I had journalism and English degrees, some newspaper writing experience, an American passport, and most importantly, a bit of computer knowledge (who else remembers MS-DOS?). Thus began an adventure that would last more than two years.
The offices I worked in were located a few blocks from King’s Cross/St. Pancreas Station. My job was a typical entry-level position in the field. I spent workdays either bored out of my mind or chasing around a stressed-out director on deadline. On the dull days, I’d take a long lunch and wander around the city.
Like most writers, I have multitudinous happy library memories from my childhood and university days. When I discovered that the largest national library in the world was next to my Tube station, I was thrilled. Until that librarian stonewalled me.
“I do have a U.K. address,” I said. “But it’s not in my name. I’m house sitting. I have a passport, of course.”
She didn’t look impressed.
“Two forms of identifications with matching permanent addresses are required,” she said. “And you need to submit a form with your research project.”
“I can’t just read books that I want to read? What kind of library is this?” Again, feeling intimidated, I didn’t say this aloud.
The librarian had refocused on her desk—a not-so-subtle dismissal.
“Wait,” I said. “I work for a television production company, and we’re making a series of documentaries for the BBC, and I need to do research.”
This was a stretch as most of our research was done online through paid archives. However, I’d already learned that dropping “the BBC” into conversations increased my status.
“Bring me a note from your director. On company letterhead. And your passport. And an envelope addressed to you where you are living now.”
I waited a few days before taking my case to one of my bosses. I choose the more literary of the two—the man who was working on a screen adaptation of Hamlet. Even so, he was confounded. “You want to spend your lunch hour in The British Library?”
“That’s exactly what I want to do,” I replied.
And that's what I did, at least once a week for most of the next two years. I browsed the stacks, sat quietly in one of the reading rooms, and, despite the library’s research directive, read whatever I wanted to read.
Long gone are the days of publisher-organized book tours, press junkets, and author travel per diems. In "Creative Ways to Promote Your Book (and Yourself)," we’ll talk about the tried and true ways to promote your book and yourself as an author as well as exploring creative options that cost next to nothing. We’ll cover how to best use various social media outlets, how to engage regional and national media, how to solicit reviews and testimonials, and how to launch your book and organize a tour. We’ll discuss the least time-consuming things you can do to promote your book without losing your mind! While this class will focus on book promotions, if you haven’t written a book yet, it will help you learn how to find a wider audience for your writing.
Fall Conference attracts hundreds of writers from around the country and provides a weekend full of activities that include lunch and dinner banquets with readings, keynotes, tracks in several genres, open mic sessions, and the opportunity for one-on-one manuscript critiques with editors or agents. Master Classes will be led by Abigail DeWitt (Fiction), Jeremy B. Jones (Nonfiction), and Nickole Brown and Jessica Jacobs (Poetry).
The nonprofit North Carolina Writers’ Network is the state’s oldest and largest literary arts services organization devoted to all writers, in all genres, at all stages of development. For additional information, visit www.ncwriters.org.