WorldCat and TCAF

It’s spring here at the Quill and there is a lot of excitement in the air with all sorts of bookish events and new titles keeping us busy.

Aside from adding photos and updates to our Past Events page, I’ve spent a bulk of this week on an ambitious WorldCat campaign for Jon Evans’ Beasts of New York – I encourage you all to check it out – buzz has been building for a long time and we can’t wait to set it free!

Caleigh set me up with a lot of information about how to run a WorldCat campaign and some spreadsheets to show me how she organized her information before I started here at the Quill. I’ve found it really helpful (and not just because I’m locked in an eternal struggle to figure out Excel) and Caleigh’s help has been a great stepping stone as I move into further campaigns. It can seem a little tedious at first when creating an initial list of libraries who own work by a certain author, cross-referencing the first title with each of the author’s other titles, and then (very important) making sure the library hasn’t already purchased the book you’re hoping to sell them! (I always check this as the very last step in my prep, so that I’m using the most recent data!)

Once you’ve gathered all of this information, it’s time to sell books! “Virtual hand-selling” can be a huge challenge – your enthusiasm can’t radiate at the librarians via your smile, and you can’t physically show them a copy of the book to look at – but there are ways around these challenges. (And unfortunately overdoing it with exclamation points to show enthusiasm isn’t one of them. It makes you seem nuts.)

In lieu of showing a “real” book, I invite librarians to check out samples of our books on GoogleBooks (Here’s a link to the page for Beasts of New York ). This gives them an opportunity to get a better “feel” for the book. Samples are especially important for our titles since so many of them feature incredible visual elements that really need to be seen to be appreciated.

Enthusiasm can be made apparent by a) a thoughtful, concise pitch statement about the book, and b) realizing that just you, your pitch, and thoughtfully-deployed exclamation marks aren’t enough. Early reviews and endorsements and other “buzz” (maybe the book has been mentioned on blogs, nominated for a prize, etc) can help you explain why you (and others) are fired-up about the book, and keep you from overdosing on exclamation marks.

And that’s WorldCat, in a nutshell. I think (and hope!) librarians enjoy getting personalized updates about new titles, especially when you’ve taken the time to ensure that they’ve already acquired books by a certain author or artist. It can be time-consuming but hopefully the more personal approach is worthwhile – it’s the closest thing to “hand-selling” this telecommuting porcupette can do!

And before I close this post, I wanted to add some shots from last weekend’s Toronto Comic Arts Festival – which was a blast! It was incredibly crowded and “team PQL” (George A. Walker, Marta Chudolinska, Megan Speers and Stefan Berg) did a fantastic job!


TCAF Excitement! (Stefan Berg and Marta Chudolinska)

Bird's Eye View of TCAF

An overhead shot of the exhibition floor at TCAF.

PQL wares on display!

(l-r) Stefan Berg, Megan Speers, Marta Chudolinska and George A. Walker

That’s all for this letter from the Porcupette. As always, if you have any questions, comments, or if you tried writing backwards and were too shy to say so last time…now’s your chance! (If you’re curious, the next episode of “Letters from the Porcupette” may feature Spring 2012 tip sheets and thoughts about e.pubs…stay tuned!)


(PS- Thanks George A. Walker for many of these photos! My inadequate cell phone camera just couldn’t get it all!)

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The Porcupine's Quill would like to acknowledge the support of the Ontario Arts Council and the Canada Council for the Arts for our publishing program. The financial support of the Government of Canada through the Canada Book Fund (CBF) is also gratefully acknowledged.