A Genuine Red Maple

The Red Maple program will get into full swing around January, so I’m told, but I received my first note regarding the awards, the day after the announcement. I think it had more to do with bookstore signings than the Red Maple.


Most authors despise these events. Bookstore customers slink around you, averting your eyes, or ask you where the washrooms/mugs/giftwrap is. No matter which award you’ve won, your audience stays away in droves. Hey, they’ve already read your novel.


Everyone who is nominated has already won a larger readership.

Nobody lines up for your autograph; you have to call out to distant passerbyers. I make treats: so for crush.candy.corpse I call out, “Hey, want to try a Mars Bar square.” and when I draw them in, I quickly spew about the story and hope to hook them into buying. At the end of a good four hours of this, I will have sold 30 books.


So what makes it the least bit worth while? If you don’t make the tree lists and you haven’t had any author visits for a while, it’s a way of reaching out to the public. The sales clerk may develop an affinity for you and your titles and may hand sell for a while. The store may keep a display of the book for a very short while.


The real payoff I think, though, are the new readers you make, independent of school, teachers,

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librarians and awards. Takes reading out of the have to, hate to category. Makes broccoli into chocolate again, if you know what I mean.


Chloe would be such a new reader. Chloe, if you’re reading this blog post, can you answer this question: would you have read crush. candy.corpse if your cousin had not met me and bought you Last Chance for Paris? Do you think you ever would have read Last Chance for Paris? Authors out there did you ever make a contact who you felt was worth your four hours? Yes or no, are booksignings worth it. Weigh in!

Here’s Chloe’s note, published with her kind permission.
My name is Chloe and I am in grade 7 at Immaculata in Ottawa, Ontario.
I read your Last Chance For Paris book which my cousin Claire had got signed for me at a chapters in Toronto this summer and was so excited when our schools teacher librarian Mme. Charon told us one of your books was on the list. I want to email just to tell you in person congrats on your nomination and you will probably be getting my vote. Thank you so much if you actually read this and again congrats!
Your number 1 fan,

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