How lovely would the life of an author be if all “book promotion events” were as delightful and energizing as the Leon & Lulu Book & Authors’ event, held every October in Clawson, Michigan. Thanks to an announcement on the Michigan SCBWI chapter listserv, I was one of the participating authors this year.
Leon and Lulu is a former roller-skating rink with a new life as an eclectic, whimsical, anything-you-can-imagine store. Every nook and cranny is filled with color and comfort (couches and chairs, scarves and sweaters), art and ambiance (wall hangings and hand-crafted lamps, aromatherapy and candles), and fun (fanciful creatures, toys, and jewelry).
Each of the 35 or so authors invited to participate was provided with their own cozy corner and display area, where they could spread their books over tables and beds, chests and cushions. My area’s color scheme actually matched the colors of Holly Welch’s gorgeous illustrations for INSIDE ALL. I spent the day relaxing on the couch, chatting with passing shoppers, inviting those who paused to help themselves to bookmarks and Dawn Publications catalogs (the concept of a ‘bringing nature to children’ publisher was new – and intriguing – to many) and selling and signing copies of INSIDE ALL. During lulls, I was able to work on my latest writing project. I also had the opportunity, when my husband, sister, and niece stopped by, to do a quick round of the store and visit and meet other local Michigan authors, and buy a couple of their books.
Two frequent passersby were Leon & Lulu’s resident dogs, who made regular rounds. Live flute music wafted through the store. Snacks and drinks were available all day, and towards the end of the event, the charming staff circulated through the store offering glasses of wine. A portion of the store’s proceeds is being donated to a local foundation that brings academic enrichment programs to Detroit area schools.
Home in the evening, I found there’d been over 20 new visitors to my website during the afternoon. And the very next day, I received an email from Yellow Door Art Market – a Michigan artists store opening in November – asking if I’d be interested in having them sell INSIDE ALL and promote my website.
Instead of being relieved that a stressful, tiring event was over, I found myself wishing the day had lasted longer. None of it felt like “promotion” or “networking.” It felt simply like a joyful community sharing of artistry.