I’m Mary, one of the librarians behind the blog and I want to tell you why we started the blog and what we hope it will do.
I’ll start by going back in time to when we in libraries were very bad at marketing our events. The joke that went round was that no matter how good an author or speaker you had, the audience was always two men and a dog –and the dog was usually asleep. When I started arranging events, I used to prevail upon family and friends to come along and swell the audience. I fondly remember introducing an early evening Burns event on the balcony at Hillhead Library and being very cheered by seeing in the audience the faces of two very loyal friends (you know who you are) and my long-suffering husband and two children, one of whom was complaining “Dad made us come and he wouldn’t let me finish my tea…..”
That was social networking at its most basic.
Over the years since that first Burns event, I’ve arranged lots of author events and I’ve worked really hard to build up an audience. To pitch to publishers for a big name like Monica Ali or Jeffery Deaver, I have to persuade them that we will bring in a good crowd, and over the years I’ve built up networks of people I could turn to for “rent a crowd” –people like Laura Marney or Willy Maley at Glasgow University who would alert their creative writing students, and David from the Mitchell Book Group, who can always be relied on to drum up an audience!
When Aye Write comes round, there’s a glossy brochure in a big print run, distributed by The Herald, but for the one-off events, marketing each one is a challenge, and I am well aware that we don’t always reach people who would want to come. We put up posters in libraries but, if you haven’t visited the library, you won’t see it. We send events listings to the press, but they don’t always print them. We pass on information to book group leaders, but if someone misses the next meeting, they might never hear about it. We email people but sometimes emails bounce back. As I say, each event is a challenge.
Which brings us to the blog. As with other new methods of social networking, like Facebook, it offers scope for reaching a huge audience. If we put our events up on the blog, all you have to do is subscribe and you’ll receive an alert every time we post new information. We had some feedback early on that people were fed up receiving daily “inane” (cheers! –we are aiming for chatty and informal) messages from WordPress; so please bear in mind that every message you get has a “Manage Subscriptions” option at the bottom which lets you choose whether to have emails sent when published, or aggregated and sent once a day or once a week.
I hope I have persuaded you that it is worth signing up!