The Self-Isolation Book Sale

What We Need Covers

I’ll be honest, the first time I saw someone on Tumblr with their plague/apocalypse novel on sale because of the coronavirus pandemic, I thought, “Really? Marketing at a time like this?”

But really, a lot of us are stuck at home with only our hobbies to occupy us–it’s not clear yet to me how much I’ll actually be working at my day job in the near future, and I’ve got my writing as well as a number of crafts to keep me occupied, but I know a lot of people out there are looking for new reads and are interested in whistling in the dark by reading post-apocalyptic fiction right now.

So here I am, with a sale to offer. The digital first title in my PA/romance trilogy, What We Need to Survive, is on sale today (or whenever Amazon updates it) for $0.99, down from $3.99. The omnibus edition, What We Need: The Complete Series, is on sale for $4.99, down from $7.99.

I will probably run this sale until at least the end of March, possibly longer, because in the past Amazon has been timely in updating lowered prices but surprisingly slow at updating raised prices, and not just in my experience, many authors have said the same. We’ll see!

If you want to know more about the works themselves, their blurbs can be found on the “My Books” page.

As for whether or not this stressful time is a good time to read them? I’ll be honest, it probably depends on your own personal reaction to the current crisis. The fictional and highly unrealistic plague-doomsday I wrote is meant to be the set dressing for the world I created, not the point of the story. So the actual illness plays a very small part in the plot (I never even go in depth into its symptoms!) and is entirely relegated to character backstories that get shared in the present, several months after the plague strikes.

The point of the story is the romance, and hope for the future growing out of the world that remains.

But that post-plague world is a grim one, and may hit a little too hard for anyone who’s more on the “terrified” end of the spectrum right now, rather than the milder “anxious and inconvenienced” end. I realize my privilege in this respect: I both in a low-risk group for the illness itself, and I am financially stable enough at the moment that whatever loss of income I do or don’t experience based on my day job in the next few weeks isn’t going to sink me. But that’s not true for a lot of people, and I don’t recommend indulging in post-apocalyptic fiction, mine or anyone else’s, if you’re more frightened than not.

If it sounds interesting but you’re not ready to read it now, I get that. Stick it on your TBR and read something lighter, I support you.

But if you’ve got some time to fill, and a character-driven romance in an unusual setting with some high stakes sounds like an adventure worth having, I’ve got you covered!

 

The Book Robin Hoods: More Reviews in the Bag!

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I’m starting to see results from all those copies of What We Need to Survive I’ve been sending out to reviewers through TBRH. Yeah, okay, one of them was just a two-star, but that’s going to happen–not everyone is going to like my work, and that’s okay!

But I got a pretty glowing one just this past weekend that I wanted to share. This is the sort of quality reviewer you can find through TBRH, which is such a great resource for indie authors!

The world got infected with a mysterious disease, which killed off most of the population in a short period of time. Everything’s changed: there’s no electricity, no working factories, no way to connect with other people other than in person. Those who survived either prefer to stay in one place or to walk from town to town, trying to find food and supplies they need to stay alive. Paul belongs to the second group and he’s used to traveling alone, but one day he meets a group of strangers and decides to join them. As they walk through deserted areas together, Paul starts to notice the advantages of not being alone anymore. He’s especially interested in quiet and introverted Nina, whom he can’t quite figure out. Will traveling together bring them closer? And what are the odds to survive in a post-apocalyptic world, where every person you meet might be your enemy?

‘What We Need to Survive’ is the first book in the What We Need trilogy, written by the American author Elena Johansen. I’m glad there are two more books to read, because I’m definitely not ready to part with Paul and Nina yet!

From a post-apocalyptic story you’d probably expect a lot of action, battles, zombies or governmental conspiracies – that’s what other PA books and movies are usually about. I’m not into those things, so I’m glad this book is nothing like that. It focuses on everyday life of those who survived the plague and try to stay alive in this new reality. It’s about human relations, learning to trust and help each other, about friendship and love, which make it easier to live day by day, when the future is so uncertain.

The author created a group of well-constructed, three-dimensional characters with great dynamics between them. My favourites are definitely Paul and Nina. Paul is a strong, tough man with a tender, caring heart, always ready to help the others. He’s also musically talented and I have to admit I have a weak spot for fictional guys who can sing and play instruments. Nina is more withdrawn, she doesn’t let her emotions show and it’s not easy to earn her trust, but she cares deeply about her little group.

The romance between Paul and Nina is one of the main threads of the book, but thankfully it’s free from clichés like insta-love or ‘we survived so let’s live like there’s no tomorrow’. It’s a delicious, slow-burn romance – there’s no rushing into things, just because they both survived the plague. They’re slowly getting to know each other, gaining mutual trust, and one of them needs to work hard to let their guards down and open up for the possibility of falling in love and building a relationship.

‘What We Need to Survive’ is a very well-written, captivating novel you won’t be able to put down. It conveys a message that there’s always hope, and love and friendship can grow even on the ashes of the world as we know it.

★★★★✩

New Year, New Giveaway Plans

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I know I said I wasn’t going to be posting until tomorrow’s weekly book reviews, but in between my naps I’ve been investigating more book promotion options, especially giveaways.

I want to get my books into the hands of more readers, and I want more reviews!

But with the new fees on the (previously-free) Goodreads giveaways, they’re no longer an option for me. Instead I’m testing out Rafflecopter’s free plan.

So go here to enter my new giveaway!

It’s running for one week–most of the entry options are one-time only (following me on various social media) but you can get an entry every day for tweeting about the contest.

Help me make this a successful first run by spreading the word!

Looking for Reviewers!

What We Need Covers

Do you like romance? Post-apocalyptic fiction? Curious about what you get when you cross the two?

I’m looking for interested readers to review my novels. What We Need is a series romance, following the same couple through three books and looking at the challenges of falling in love, and staying in love, when the world has fallen apart.

What I’m Offering:

  • Free digital copies of one or more of the books to those willing to read and review them

What I Expect in Return:

  • An honest review posted to both Amazon and Goodreads (minimum) within 3 weeks of receiving the book
  • If you have a book blog, posting a review there would be appreciated as well
  • Sharing your review through any of your other social media channels (Twitter, Facebook, etc.) would also be fabulous

Please Do Not:

  • Ask to participate if you have no intention of reviewing within the time frame asked
  • Ask to participate if you already doubt you’ll enjoy the books based on the premise/genre
  • Ask for physical copies instead of digital; I simply do not have the budget for this on a large scale
  • Distribute the copies you receive to others

How It Works:

  1. Send me an email [elenajohansenwriting@gmail.com] with your preferred ebook format, and which book you need (for most that will be What We Need to Survive but if anyone who has already started the series needs the later books, that’s cool too.)
  2. I will add you to the reviewers list and send you the book.
  3. Once you’ve posted your review, if you’d like to continue with the series, email me with a link to your review so that I know you’ve completed it; then I’ll send the next book along. If you’re not interested in continuing, then you’re all done!

The Fine Print:

As this is post-apocalyptic fiction, the setting isn’t pretty. There is violence, there is injury and illness and death.

As this is a romance, and not a “clean” one, there is also sex.

If anyone has concerns about triggers, or wants content warnings before they commit to reading, I’m happy to discuss them with you first. I don’t want to post them all here because [spoilers]; also because I can tag a lot of the obvious potential issues, but I can’t know everything any given reader might be worried about encountering.

Please don’t hesitate to ask if you need to–I want my books to be enjoyable, not harmful, and I will not be offended if anyone decides not to read after talking with me.

The #readselfpublished Blog Tour!

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Hello, readers and fellow authors participating in #readselfpublished!

I’m Elena, I write romance, and I’ve got two books following one couple past the end of the world as they knew it.

Is there room for love in their lives when mere survival demands so much? Find out in What We Need to Survive, book one in the What We Need series.

Kindle

After the plague, the world became a web of silent roads stretching between empty towns.

Paul discovered he had a knack for living on the move, finding supplies and trading them with other survivors, never staying long in one place, or with one person. But he wanted to. Life would be easier with someone to watch his back.

Nina found her own way to survive in the ruined world, but the choices she made left her guarded and mistrustful. Not a woman likely to care for a handsome stranger who falls in with her group of survivors.

Attraction can be ignored, and trust has to be earned. But the days spent searching for food and shelter, and the nights spent keeping watch, don’t satisfy their truest need…

Each other.

When danger is never far away, is love a luxury they can’t afford? What We Need to Survive captures the tension, fear, and hope of two people struggling to build a new way of life from the leftovers of the old, deciding what to hold on to, and what to leave behind.

If that intrigues you, one copy of the book is available through the #readselfpublished giveaways (here’s all of them, so many! Mine’s near the top, April 2nd, and there’s a few days left to enter.) Or dive right in with a digital copy, only 99 cents on whatever platform you prefer!

But Paul and Nina’s story doesn’t end there, oh no. The dangers of the world aren’t finished with them yet, as they travel on together in What We Need to Decide.

eBook cover

Planning a future is a tricky thing, more difficult than picking the best route off a map–especially when the world lies in ruins.

Paul doesn’t have any doubts about Nina. She chose to follow him, and to love him, more every day. Life on the road will never be easy, but with her by his side, he can do anything.

Nina never hoped for much, before the plague, or after. Having Paul to love, and to love her, was more than she’d expected. No matter what else is wrong, being with him feels right, and she sets aside her armor to let him in.

But when Nina reveals her deepest secrets, Paul realizes the life he hopes to have some day might be out of his reach.

And when Paul shows her his darkest side, the piece of himself he can’t accept, Nina wonders if she’ll lose the man she loves to his own demons.

Will Paul and Nina allow the struggles of their pasts to define their future?

What We Need to Decide continues their story, begun in What We Need to Survive, following them as they face the dangers of a world that isn’t as empty as it seems, and the challenges of forging a strong bond under the worst conditions.

I do love reading romances that tie everything up in a neat Happily Ever After bow at the end, but I also love series romances that give you more time to get to know the characters before the journey’s over. Stick with Paul and Nina through theirs with What We Need to Decide, book two of the series, available here. (Paperbacks for both works available through Amazon.)

The series will conclude with the third book, What We Need to Rebuild, coming in Summer 2017! No blurb or cover to share, yet, but if you want to make sure you don’t miss the release announcement, follow my blog here or connect with me any one of these places:

Twitter :: Tumblr :: Facebook :: Goodreads

Thanks for stopping by, and continue on the tour tomorrow with Sarah K. L. Wilson!

#readselfpublished 2017: I’m Hosting a Read-Along!

WHAT WE NEED TO SURVIVE READ-ALONG

I had such a good time with (and good sales numbers from) #readselfpublished last year, I’m participating again. The organizers have planned more activities this year, and there are more authors involved–more on that when the main site goes live in April.

I’m one of the authors hosting a read-along for the event! If you’ve been meaning to read What We Need to Survive and haven’t gotten around to it yet, this will be a great chance to join other fans and share the experience. Hop over to the Facebook page for the event and sign up!

(And while you’re there, maybe you could Like and Follow the page for the whole series as well? I’ll be using it to post updates about the event as well as the forthcoming release date for What We Need to Rebuild!)

It’s an even better time to read WWNtS, because if you don’t already have a copy, the e-book is on sale for 99 cents! (Paperback available through Amazon.)

After the plague, the world became a web of silent roads stretching between empty towns.

Paul discovered he had a knack for living on the move, finding supplies and trading them with other survivors, never staying long in one place, or with one person. But he wanted to. Life would be easier with someone to watch his back.

Nina found her own way to survive in the ruined world, but the choices she made left her guarded and mistrustful. Not a woman likely to care for a handsome stranger who falls in with her group of survivors.

Attraction can be ignored, and trust has to be earned. But the days spent searching for food and shelter, and the nights spent keeping watch, don’t satisfy their truest need…

Each other.

When danger is never far away, is love a luxury they can’t afford? What We Need to Survive captures the tension, fear, and hope of two people struggling to build a new way of life from the leftovers of the old, deciding what to hold on to, and what to leave behind.

If that sounds interesting, I hope you’ll join the read-along, we’d love to have you!

 

The End of the Month Wrap-Up: September 2016!

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This month, I read eleven books. Average, for me, but what’s more interesting about those eleven books is that I finished all three of my reading challenges for the year!

(If you missed the breakdowns — BookRiot Read Harder :: PopSugar :: ReadsTheBooks)

I worked plenty on rewriting the first draft for my next book, the final entry in the What We Need series. No hard word count on that, because I’ve rewritten a few chapters more than once, so words written =/= words that remained in the draft. It’s moving forward, though.

Oh, yeah, and I published the second one. Y’know, no big deal, if you maybe want to check it out…

Over the weekend, I tackled updating my Goodreads TBR to reflect all the free romances I’ve been snatching up on my Kindle this year. My “acquired-in-2016” shelf ballooned from 87 books (almost entirely the stuff I’ve been picking up at those library sales) to a whopping 212. I had no idea I’d gotten so many! But they add up fast when you browse the free “bestsellers” every few weeks, and half the time manage to pick up boxed sets to boot.

I toyed with the idea of starting a new, shorter reading challenge to fill in the rest of the year after I discovered PopSugar does seasonal ones as well, but some of the tasks have me stumbling. A book with a pun in the title? That’s not going to be a long list.

I did some research for next year, though, and I’m probably going to do the Mount TBR Challenge, assuming it’s up again. Since I have well over 200 unread books in my possession, this seems the way to encourage me to read from my personal library, and it will dovetail nicely with any task-oriented challenge I choose. And since it will include everything I acquire before the end of the year, that means any books Santa brings me for Christmas will be fair game…

Because, clearly, I still need more books!

WHAT WE NEED TO DECIDE Is Here!

eBook cover

What We Need to Decide is now available!

Amazon :: Barnes & Noble :: iBooks :: Kobo

Planning a future is a tricky thing, more difficult than picking the best route off a map–especially when the world lies in ruins.

Paul doesn’t have any doubts about Nina. She chose to follow him, and to love him, more every day. Life on the road will never be easy, but with her by his side, he can do anything.

Nina never hoped for much, before the plague, or after. Having Paul to love, and to love her, was more than she’d expected. No matter what else is wrong, being with him feels right, and she sets aside her armor to let him in.

But when Nina reveals her deepest secrets, Paul realizes the life he hopes to have some day might be out of his reach.

And when Paul shows her his darkest side, the piece of himself he can’t accept, Nina wonders if she’ll lose the man she loves to his own demons.

Will Paul and Nina allow the struggles of their pasts to define their future?

What We Need to Decide continues their story, begun in What We Need to Survive, following them as they face the dangers of a world that isn’t as empty as it seems, and the challenges of forging a strong bond under the worst conditions.


Author’s Note: What We Need to Survive, book #1 in the series, can be read as a standalone novel; What We Need to Decide cannot. And it ends on a cliffhanger, resolved in book #3, What We Need to Rebuild, which will release in 2017. Fair warning, before someone throws their book, phone, or e-reader across the room when they finish reading.

Need to catch up? What We Need to Survive is on sale for $.99 through the end of September!


Chapter One – Destination

October 12th, 6:35 pm – OH-93, south of Oak Hill

Nina sat beside Paul in front of the fire and waited for him to tell her what was on his mind.

She sensed something weighing on him. His distant expression was more than the unfocused gaze of someone staring into the leaping flames. He peered through it, past it, as if trying to see into the future. The slight furrow of his brow meant he didn’t care for whatever chain of events he conjured up.

He’d been quiet all afternoon while they’d foraged for food in Oak Hill. With a solid set of wheels underneath them, they didn’t need to stop in every town to hunt for supplies. But when they’d found a small grocery next to the highway with no obvious signs of damage, Paul had pulled into the parking lot and suggested they investigate.

They’d found a case of energy bars and more honey-roasted peanuts than they could eat in a week. Not that Nina wouldn’t try.

They hadn’t talked much as they scanned the aisles by the beam of Paul’s flashlight. Without the hum of the air conditioners, the electric whine of the fluorescent lights overhead, or the bland pop music playing on the radio, their voices had echoed through the cavernous building.

Though no one would hear them, Paul had whispered, and so had she.

He wasn’t whispering anymore. He was silent, almost brooding.

Nina had needed time to get used to his easy, talkative nature at first—his effortless charm inviting her in, and how he kept trying to be her friend when she couldn’t admit she wanted one. Since they’d gone beyond friendship, she was having equal trouble getting used to his silences. He’d admitted to worrying he talked too much sometimes, or he’d bore her, so he overcompensated by shutting up for hours. And sometimes, he was just tired.

This quiet between them as they sat together at the fire seemed thoughtful.

Emulating Paul’s endless patience with her was a challenge, but Nina wanted to try. She sat beside him without fidgeting or filling the silence with small talk. She was terrible at small talk anyway—if she dove into it, Paul would suspect he was making her anxious.

Instead of demanding he spill his secrets, which tempted her, Nina made herself do something practical, something useful. Diverting her circling thoughts with activity wasn’t new—she’d done it plenty to calm her mind before she and Paul had gotten together.

But she still thought of him as the practical one, the one ready for any eventuality. She had to play catch-up, learning to be as self-reliant and self-assured as he was.

Their spare gear was stored in the back of the pickup truck. They’d already built the fire and eaten dinner, but they hadn’t pitched the tent yet. By the way the western sky was blazing orange and pink, sunset was no more than half an hour away. Nina wasn’t practiced enough at camping to be comfortable setting up the tent by firelight. She lifted it out of the truck bed and scanned the site for the best spot.

When Paul noticed what she was doing, he jumped to his feet to help. Together they cleared a space and put up the tent, a two-person dome barely long enough for Paul to stretch out in. They had one sleeping bag between them, which got unrolled, unzipped, and laid flat to serve as a mattress. Their blankets went on top, though they had no pillows. Nina supposed they could have taken theirs from the house when they left, but neither of them had thought to, and they hadn’t found new ones.

After they finished, Paul plunked himself back down at the fire. Not sure what else to do, Nina joined him. He draped his arm over her shoulders, and she leaned her head against his chest, grateful for the contact. But he was still silent, and she still didn’t know how to ask what was making him so somber.

Before long, she was dozing off.

“You should go to bed,” Paul told her after the third time she jerked her head up to keep from falling completely asleep.

A good idea, but it could be a better one. “Come with?” Nina asked, her voice small and sleepy.

He shook his head, trailing the backs of his fingers over her cheek. “I’ll be in soon.”

Nina’s skin heated from the caress more than from the warmth of the fire. After a few days together on the road, Paul’s casual affection finally felt natural to her. Building that part of their relationship was easier when they were alone together, with no one watching and driving Nina crazy with nerves.

But she sighed when she settled into their thin, inadequate bed, alone and not nearly warm enough without Paul beside her. Summer was giving way to fall, and already the nights were far colder than she thought they’d be. She curled herself tightly, pulled her blanket up to her chin, and tried not to worry. The sudden feeling of distance between her and Paul kept her too tense to sleep. She wanted the warmth of his body and the solid comfort of his presence.

He was only a few feet away, but it felt much farther.

Nina told herself she was overreacting, but it was still new to her, this intimacy of hearts, not just of bodies. Uncertainty ran rampant inside her head—she knew she should find out what was bothering him, but she didn’t know how, not without potentially making the problem worse.

Sometime later she woke, fuzzy-headed and night-blind, without realizing she had fallen asleep. Paul was in the tent. He’d put the fire out, so no light shone through the thin nylon walls, and in the dark, he’d bumped her getting into bed.

She made a complaining noise, and he kissed her hair as he gathered her in his arms. “Sorry, sweetheart. Go back to sleep.”

His heat thawed her chilled joints, and she melted closer to him. When she began to kiss her way up his neck, though, he pulled away.

“Not tonight, okay? It’s late, I think we both need the sleep instead.”

Nina laid her head on his shoulder, determined not to let him know by any sound or change in her breathing how even his gentle rejection stung. Not much, not unbearably, but she hadn’t expected the first time to be so soon. They’d made love in one form or another every night since they’d left, and more than once on a break from traveling during the day.

They were still new to each other, and both of them had been starved for real affection. Nina had a gnawing hunger in her, a craving for him she couldn’t seem to satisfy.

Until tonight, she hadn’t doubted Paul felt the same hunger. For those precious few days they’d had together at the house, it hadn’t mattered whose idea it had been to get naked. But on the road, Paul had been letting Nina make the first move. Either because it was his nature—which Nina didn’t believe, he was too passionate to sit back and wait for her every time—or because he was trying to be sensitive to her past. She remembered the horror in his expression when she’d told him about her time on the road with Darren, before they’d met.

She’d refused to go with Paul, at first, because of it.

Obviously, he remembered too, which made him hesitant.

Nina wiggled closer. Paul’s arms settled more snugly around her. His heart thumped beneath her cheek, steady and strong, a drum keeping time for the soft drone of the crickets outside.

He didn’t pull away.

Her anger and hurt eased with every reassuring thump in his chest. She could choose to hang onto them, or to let them go. Paul was trying to make her life easier by being undemanding. He was trying to keep her fears contained and quiet her anxieties.

And if he erred on the side of caution, wasn’t it another sign he cared?

With a deep sigh, she let it go, like dropping stones into a pond and watching until they sank out of sight. “Paul?” she whispered. “Are you still awake?”

“Hm?” he murmured, nuzzling her hair with his lips.

“I know you’re too tired to talk now, but something’s bothering you. Will you tell me soon? Because I’m worried about you.”

After a long pause, she wondered if he’d fallen asleep right when she’d finally figured out how to safely phrase her concerns. Then he said, “Not sure I’m ready to talk about it yet, sweetheart. Might be a bad idea.”

She pawed her hands up his body until she found his face, then drew him down to her for a kiss. A soft one, which she hoped he knew wasn’t asking for more. “Then think about it. Because I want to help.”

“All right, sweetheart.” He interrupted himself with a wide yawn. “I can do that.”

If he said anything else, Nina didn’t remember when she woke up in the morning. Early sunlight painted the far side of the tent a brighter shade of green. She rolled over to joke with Paul for letting her sleep past sunrise, but she was alone. Not even a memory of warmth came from his side of the bed.

Nina’s winter coat was draped over her, though, on top of her blanket. Paul must have done it when he woke up, and his care of her made her heart flutter, even if she wanted to be the one taking care of him.

When she emerged from the tent, shoving her hands down the arms of her coat, she found Paul sitting in the cab of the truck with the door still open, his feet on the step. His notebook was spread across his knee as he wrote. He wore his usual layers, shirt and sweater, plus his own winter coat, a rugged denim jacket, surprisingly warm and sturdy. Nina knew because she’d found it for him, delighted at the quilted lining and how it was big enough she’d drown in it. Which meant, she’d hoped, it might actually fit him.

It did, which made her happier than she’d expected to be.

Their coats had been stuffed in the back of the truck with their extra supplies, but the chill in the morning air must have prompted Paul to retrieve them. She hadn’t seen him wearing his yet, but the deep blue color, a few shades darker than his jeans, turned his hair a brighter gold. For a moment, she just stood in front of the tent and marveled at him, her long-legged songwriter with his shaggy hair and beautiful hands and quiet, considerate heart.

She’d had no idea love could feel this way. Maybe she should have tried it sooner.

But it wouldn’t have been with him, so it might have been all wrong.

When Paul lifted his bent head to smile at her, she couldn’t help returning his grin. Faint, dark circles shadowed his eyes, which made Nina wonder how long he’d lain awake the night before wrestling with whatever demons troubled him. But he kept smiling as he set his notebook on the dashboard and stretched out his arms, inviting her to step into them, holding her when she did.

“’Morning,” she said, muffled by his coat.

“Looks like you slept better than I did.” He kissed the top of her head.

She faced him, not sure what to say, and tried to keep the worry out of her expression. She didn’t want to ask again, because he might think she didn’t trust him to tell her when he was ready.

Despite her best efforts, some fraction of her inner turmoil must have lurked in her eyes, enough to crack the edges of his uncertainty. He squeezed her tighter for a moment, tight enough for her ribs to protest, then kissed her forehead before speaking. “I know we planned to avoid big cities,” he began. “And I still think we should. Except . . .”

“Except?” Nina prompted when he broke off, glancing away.

He closed his eyes for a heartbeat before meeting her gaze again. “I want to go home.”

Let Me Tell You a Story #26: The Power of Asking for Help

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I went to the library yesterday, after receiving a notification I had a book waiting for me. (I’ve been on hold for A Court of Mist and Fury since just before its release two months ago.)

I took my writing journal along, because I hadn’t done an observational entry in the library yet, but I ended up writing about how nervous I was to be there.

That’s not a typical reaction to a library for me. Yes, I’m an anxious person in general, but libraries? One of the best, most soothing places on earth to me. All those books.

I wrote myself a pep talk, to work up my nerve to go to the desk and ask about the process of getting my novel into circulation.

I’d already read numerous articles on the Internet about the process, and they all offered various forms of advice, from sending a formal query directly to the purchasing department, to having friends and family request the book through the system until enough attention accumulated to prompt the library to make a purchase.

Most didn’t recommend walking in with a copy and handing it over, because even if the book is a donation and doesn’t cost them money to purchase, it does cost them time and money to process and get on the shelves–not all libraries have that extra bit of time and money.

But I’m not my best via email, even worse on the phone (anxious, you know). I’m great in person, when I can see who I’m talking to. Especially since I’m a regular at the library, if not on a first-name basis with any of the librarians yet.

So I took a copy of my novel, just in case, and told myself I was on a fact-finding mission.

I happened to have the head librarian wait on me at the desk, which made my mission even easier. While she was checking out ACOMAF for me, I asked, “If I were an independent author and wanted to get my book into circulation, how would I go about doing that?”

She answered, “Bring in a copy, tell us it’s for the collection rather than the book sale, then we look up all the information on it we need to make the bib, and get it onto the shelves.”

I blushed (I know I did, I could feel it) and pulled the copy out of my tote bag, explaining that I hadn’t counted on it being so simple, because of the Internet articles, but I’d wanted to be ready.

We chatted a bit about the process, and she offered to talk my book up at the next branch meeting, and I thanked her profusely, probably a little too profusely, but she understood. She said, “It’s harder sometimes to ask for help than it is to get it.”

Ain’t that the truth.

Fellow authors, I know it’s hard for some of us; self-promotion isn’t a skill that comes naturally to everyone. But make friends with your librarians. They’re generally lovely people, and they do want to help.

(She also brought up the idea of me hosting a book talk at the library, “not promising anything yet” but recommending I think about it, maybe in time for the holidays when “hordes of grandmas come in and want to know what books to send off to their college kids for Christmas.” I’m not at all ready for that now–I didn’t even know I’d get my book on the shelves that easily–but libraries love events, and they love local authors. I’m nervous, but if I can, I think I’d like to do it.)