Friday, July 16, 2010

Finding Local Authors and Illustrators

The Friends of the Library received a grant a while back to bring some authors and illustrators to the library, so I have been on a quest to find authors who live close enough that I don't have to pay for their hotel rooms. That sounds cheap, which I don't mean to be, so maybe I should just say something about supporting local authors.

Anyway, how do you search for authors and illustrators by geographic location? I thought I'd share some of the most helpful strategies:
  • The Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. That's a link to the New England chapter. This was probably the most helpful for finding up-and-coming authors as opposed to the "big names." I've always thought going to their conference would be helpful, too. Online, they have a speaker directory.
  • Past Speakers for local festivals. If you don't know of any local festivals, check out the literature departments at nearby colleges and universities. For example, I found this list from the Keene State College Festival of Children's Literature to be wonderful.
  • Statewide literature organizations. As in, whoever does reading-across-the-state programs or what-have-you. In my case, the Rhode Island Center for the book had a list of "booklinks," with everything from binderies to storytellers.
  • The American Literature Map. I love this, although its usefulness is questionable. It includes--nay, focuses on--historical authors, so you have to trawl through a lot of names looking for people who aren't dead.
  • LibraryThing. The key here is to find a list or group that's relevant to what you're looking for. For example, a thread about New England authors. What's nice about using LibraryThing is that it has pages for authors, so you can easily click between lists and biographical information.
  • GoodReads makes it even easier to find relevant groups, because if you go to the groups page, there's a link to "geographic" groups. Unfortunately, I found fewer active groups on GoodReads, so it didn't really help me.
  • Listservs for professional organizations. Use your colleagues' brains!
I've sent off a few emails, so hopefully some authors and illustrators are ready to wheel and deal!

No comments:

Post a Comment