Spring Meeting 2016 – MPIBA’s “Love Your Library” and Author Reception

April 8 in Boulder, Colorado

Fabulous Authors, Presenters, and Booksellers!

Mary Wolf from Collected Works Bookstore in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and Stephen Graham Jones, author of MONGRELS from HarperCollins/William Morrow

The American Booksellers Association and booksellers from the MPIBA region met at the beautiful Boulder Public Library in Boulder, Colorado, on Friday, April 8, for an energizing day of presentations and book industry news, followed by a wonderful Author Reception at Boulder Book Store.

Thank you

… to Oren Teicher and Dan Cullen for conducting ABA’s exciting presentation, “Indie Bookstores and the New Localism.”

… to Lisa Casper from Douglas County Libraries and April Gosling from Boulder Book Store for conducting the MPIBA session, “Love Your Library!”

… to Stephanie Schindhelm, Arsen Kashkashian, and Erin Mazza for their help in organizing the Author Reception at the Boulder Book Store.

… to HarperCollins/William Morrow, Macmillan/Flatiron Books, Penguin Random House/G.P. Putnam’s Sons, Simon & Schuster/Scribner, and Workman Publishing/Algonquin Books for sponsoring the authors for the Author Reception.


“Love Your Library!”

Working with School Libraries: April Gosling

Say yes. To nearly everything until you know enough to say no.

This will let you create the relationship with your library (school or public). And will also make sure you can say no from a place of experience.

Hand deliver books whenever you can.

The online school in my district has an admin who loves that I bring the books out to them. By delivering the books, I get to meet the teacher/librarian face-to-face when we would otherwise only communicate via email. And who doesn’t appreciate a real smile, not an emoji?

In the case of ticketed events, we normally give the cost of the ticket (or a portion of it) off the book rather than including the book in the price.

This is only for bookstore events though. If the library is hosting and I’m just selling, then the ticket (if there is one) is just a ticket.

Both the bookstore and library use the relationship as a launchpad

to demonstrate to publishers that we are working together to sell books. The united front helped us bring in Cassandra Clare in March, and we sold nearly 400 books!


April Gosling, left, from Boulder Book Store and Lisa Casper from Douglas County Libraries


Libraries and Book Stores –
Community Partnership: Lisa Casper

Douglas County Libraries and the Tattered Cover Book Store have a community partnership which enables the library branches to host author events with the Tattered Cover selling books and reporting sales to publishers and lists.

How it works:

The first step is to reach out to the library or library district in your area and talk with the people in charge of programs/events at the library. Usually it’s under programs or community relations if it’s a big district there should be a head of programs and then probably a person in charge at the branches. If it’s small – it could be the manager or librarian doing everything.Libraries usually have goals with life-long learning and literacy being two of them. When they bring authors to libraries – their patrons get to meet, listen, ask questions, etc. It’s great community engagement and it gets people in the door of the library. Perhaps people who don’t come to the library regularly come for the event because they see it on an author’s website. They might see more events publicized and come back to the library. Some libraries might do this type of event as a fundraiser.

Book Stores and Publishers need to sell books and so when discussing a partnership with libraries, you will probably have to explain those goals and how only certain sales count toward the bestseller status. It’s really two entities working together to achieve all the goals. Sometimes libraries have access to larger event spaces. Some, in the case of DCL, can rent larger venues when the need arises.

Douglas County Libraries (DCL) has two types of author events where the Tattered Cover is contacted to sell books.

Branch Author Event –

Library program person works with publisher to book an author – who may or may not be on tour at the time. Library contacts book store to come and sell books. The event is free with the Tattered Cover on hand to sell books. We make sure that is in the event description and on the posters.

Offsite Author Event –

These are for authors who have large followings in our case larger than 340 since that is what my branch can seat. Then the program coordinator rents an offsite venue and this is where we do sell tickets. Depending on when the book was released, this can mean the book comes with the ticket. An upcoming example of this is an event with Craig Johnson – Longmire at the Ranch on May 31st. Tickets are $30 and include his new book, complimentary refreshments and a mini tour of Cherokee Ranch Castle. http://douglascountylibraries.org/craig-johnson

The largest event of this type was Diana Gabaldon and we had 1,000 people and rented the ballroom at a hotel.



John Edwards from Explore Booksellers in Aspen, Colorado, and Kathy Ryan from Pacific Island Books in Thornton, Colorado


Marketing –

The Community relations team designs posters, bookmarks, e-blasts to cardholders and those who are on hold for the book, e-marketing, and press releases for the event. The Tattered Cover includes the events in its calendar and e-blasts with a link that goes to our registration (used so we make sure we don’t go over the seating numbers)

Day of the Event –

Tattered Cover Conferences comes and sells the books. Because I have worked at the Tattered for a long time doing events, we run the signing exactly like they do: Post it notes, book flapping, numbers if it’s a huge event. We honor any signing guidelines or photo guidelines we get from the publisher. The rest – water, pens and reserving parking spots for the Tattered and for the Author/driver and sometimes author’s family. We usually have some sort of refreshment at the event.

After the Event –

I report audience numbers to the publisher. I send photos to them and the store, and tag the store in Facebook photo posts. Once our electronic feedback comes back (It’s an email that goes to everyone who has registered asking how they liked the event, etc.) I collect the good comments and send them to the publisher. Thus building that relationship. The Tattered Cover reports the sales. They have that access.


My suggestion to those struggling with libraries who choose to sell the books themselves, and I’m sure you’ve all thought of this, is talking to them about having the book store there to sell because then they don’t have to worry about ordering, selling, sales tax, returning and the book store can make suggestions about how to run the signing portion so that they don’t have an author organizing her own signing line. I think bringing up localism would be great as well.

But if it would help to talk to me or have the library program person call me – I would be happy to tell them how great it is to have our partnership and we do bigger and better events that our patrons really enjoy.

Don’t hesitate to get in touch with me if you have questions:
Lisa Casper, Douglas County Libraries – Branch Program Liaison
lcasper@dclibraries.org or 720-348-9522



Enthusiastic Booksellers and Authors Mingle
at Boulder Book Store Author Reception

For complete book descriptions and author bios, please click here.



Elizabeth J. Church, author of THE ATOMIC WEIGHT OF LOVE from Workman Publishing/Algonquin Books



Erik Storey, author of NOTHING SHORT OF DYING from Simon & Schuster/Scribner



Eleanor Brown, author of THE LIGHT OF PARIS from Penguin Random House/G.P. Putnam’s Sons



Jerry Nelson, author of DEAR COUNTY AGENT GUY from Workman Publishing



Abbey Paxton and Nicole Sullivan from BookBar in Denver, Colorado



Booksellers enjoying the Author Reception in the beautiful meeting room at Boulder Book Store




Phoebe Gaston from Book Travelers West/Workman Publishing with Vicki Law Burger from Wind City Books in Casper, Wyoming



Kathy Ryan from Pacific Island Books in Thornton, Colorado; Allison Senecal and Matt Goering from Old Firehouse Books in Fort Collins, Colorado



Arsen Kashkashian (far left) and Stephanie Schindhelm (far right) from Boulder Book Store in Boulder, Colorado; Cathy Langer from Tattered Cover Book Store in Denver, Colorado; Meg Sherman from W.W. Norton & Company



Arsen Kashkashian and Stephanie Schindhelm from Boulder Book Store in Boulder, Colorado



A Note from “The Missing Author”

Christopher Green from The Bookworm of Edwards in Edwards, Colorado and Fernanda Santos, author of THE FIRE LINE from Macmillan/Flatiron Books

Christopher Green from The Bookworm of Edwards in Edwards, Colorado and Fernanda Santos, author of THE FIRE LINE from Macmillan/Flatiron Books


Hello, indie booksellers I didn’t meet.

This is Fernanda Santos, also known as “The Missing Author.” I’m the one who should have joined the reception at Boulder Book Store on Friday night, but didn’t. There was a scheduling mix-up, so I was out on Pearl Street, reading the notes I’d prepared for you and waiting as the reception went on inside.

I was lucky enough — blessed, I’d say — to have met Heather Duncan of Tattered Cover Book Store when I walked into the reception room as you were all walking out.

Heather introduced me to some of the booksellers who were gathered at a restaurant nearby, and I had a chance to speak to the group about The Fire Line, my first book. I wanted all of you to hear about it, though, and Laura kindly agreed to distribute my notes. I hope you take a few minutes to read them, and I hope you’ll consider featuring The Fire Line at your stores.

Fernanda Santos



About THE FIRE LINE by Fernanda Santos

My husband was the first one at our house to notice that something had gone terribly wrong in an Arizona wildfire on June 30, 2013. It was Sunday, early evening, and we were home having pizza and wine with our neighbors. My husband brought some dirty dishes to the kitchen, and stopped to scroll through Twitter. He saw that nineteen firefighters had gone missing and were presumed dead in a fire that was burning along the western edge of an out-of-the-way town called Yarnell. I grabbed some clothes, my laptop, my cell phone and portable charger. I apologized to the neighbors, said goodbye to my husband, told our daughter, “Mommy will be back soon,” and started driving.

That night, and for eight days after that, I anchored the New York Times’ coverage of the fire. I found out that the nineteen firefighters had died at the bottom of a canyon, and that the canyon had been covered in thick, parched brush when they entered it. I knew these firemen all belonged to the same crew, the Granite Mountain Hotshots, and I quickly learned three things about them: They were well-respected as a crew that got the job done, and done well; they were young, healthy, ambitious and incredibly fit; and they knew fire.

They were five hundred yards from a ranch when they came face to face with a wall of flames forty, fifty feet high. Still, none of them broke rank. None of them ran.


I wrote The Fire Line to answer this question.

To find out why, I learned what these nineteen firefighters were about, what their work was about. I learned about wildfires – how they burned, and how the fire in Yarnell burned. I traveled to five states to meet the wives, children and parents of these firemen. I read the diary that one of them kept. I read the books that two others left on their bedside tables – Edward Abbey’s Desert Solitaire and Shael Silverstein’s Where the Sidewalk Ends. I slept in the same bedroom that one of the firefighters slept in when he was a boy.

I trained as they trained, at the same wildfire academy. I experienced what it feels like to swing a Pulaski and cut fire line on the hardened desert soil. I learned to speak the language of fire and understand what it means. I drank beers, hiked and kayaked with young men who also fought fire, many of them alumni of the Granite Mountain Hotshots. I did the work, and I earned my place in the tight-knit family the nineteen firefighters in my book belonged to, their fire family. An outsider, I was allowed in.

I learned about the lives they lived at home, scenes that reminded me of my own life, others that served as life lessons. On the night before he left for Yarnell to fight his last fire, Travis Turbyfill played with his two little daughters on the living room carpet. Stephanie — Travis’ wife, the girls’ mom — watched them. For a moment, she considered running to her bedroom to get her cell phone and take a picture. What a great Facebook post that would be, she thought. But then she stopped herself. She chose to stay in the moment, enjoy it. Not everything about her life, about their happiness, had to be shared with the world. I’ve made it a point to remember that.

Another of the firefighters, John Percin Jr., kept post-it notes on the wall above his dresser. They were messages of self-affirmation, reminders to a recovering drug addict of his self-worth:

I am human.

I am a good son.

I am a good brother.

I am a wildland firefighter.

These were ordinary men who did extraordinary work, day in, and day out. They valued the values they shared. Their boss, Eric Marsh, aspired to turn into great men, a tougher task than creating great firemen. Marsh rewarded honesty and loyalty, and he believed that one was complimentary to the other. He also believed that, together, his Granite Mountain Hotshots were one.

The Fire Line also discusses big-picture themes, like the escalating cost of fire season, the growing danger of fire, and the immense risk firefighters face every day on the job. These are important topics, and there’s no better time to talk about them then now, as another fire season is upon us.

The United States had its costliest wildfire season in 2015 — $1.71 billion. This year, all signs point to a higher cost — and greater devastation. Alaska had its first fire of the year in February. New Mexico has experienced twice as many fires as it had by this time last year. Hawaii exhausted the money it had set aside for firefighting last month, three months ahead of the busy summer fire season. The United States Forest Service spent more than half of its entire budget fighting fires last year, and it has been caught in a dangerous circle: It doesn’t have enough money to manage our forests, and it’s spending more and more to fight fire in these forests because there’s just too much to burn.

I believe The Fire Line will get us thinking and talking about the big themes. But the book’s strength — its heart, really — is in the personal stories that carry the narrative. The Granite Mountain Hotshots were family men. Three of them never got to meet their first child — their wives were expecting when they died. Fourteen of the nineteen were still in their twenties.

In this individualistic world we live in, the Granite Mountain Hotshots offer a great counterpoint. They valued teamwork. They built a culture of loyalty predicated on a simple premise: We’re only as strong as our weakest link. They were imperfect, but they were also heroic and exemplary. Through their stories, and the story of the fire that killed them, The Fire Line immerses readers in the shades of gray. It recalibrates our definition of guilt and blame. But more importantly, it sifts triumph from tragedy and builds strong emotional connections between characters and reader. In doing that, it gives the story a lasting presence and it makes all of us care. That, at least, is my great hope.



Posted April 14, 2016