Tag Archives: deborah miller

ABC Friday Reads – Three Calgary Poets

This week, as part of my Friday Reads promotion of Alberta authors, I am recommending collections by Calgary poets. All three have been faithful supporters of Alberta Books Canada since the beginning, and I thank them for that! But each is also an exceptional writer, and I have no hesitation in suggesting that you pick up copies of their books and sample the writing of all three poets, if you’re looking for a wonderful way to spend your weekend. Enjoy!

I have known Bob Stallworthy for many more years than either of us cares to admit. Bob was beginning his career as a poet while I was working at Books ‘n’ Books on 17th Ave. in Calgary, sadly long-since closed. Bob was publishing his poems in chapbooks and working at learning his craft. He would often drop by the store in those days, because Books n Books promoted local writers, and especially supported poets, such as Robert Hilles, Ken Rivard, Chris Wiseman, Yvonne Trainer, Murdoch Burnett, and many others who later went on to publish and realize success. When I first set up ABC, Bob was among those few Calgary authors who immediately signed on to have his three books displayed at library conferences, and he’s supported my efforts ever since. Thanks, Bob!

Things That Matter Now 978-1-897181-26-3
From A Call Box 978-0-968490-31-0
Optics 978-0-968490-06-8

All published by Frontenac House

Deborah Miller also signed up for promotion at the very beginning. I hadn’t known of her work before that time, but have enjoyed working with her to not only promote her three collections of poetry, but also her children’s book, Grappling with the Grumblies, for which she wrote the text. Deborah gives a great presentation of this book and was awarded the inaugural Steffie Award for it! Her three books of poetry were well-received when first published.

I will Burn Candles 1-896209-16-5
Landing At Night 978-1-896209-94-4
Grandmother’s Radio: Echoes From the Holocaust 1-896209-74-2

All published by Bayeaux Arts and available to purchase from the author.

I knew Rosemary Griebel‘s husband a couple of decades before I actually, and finally, met Rosemary – since he was our friendly, neighbourhood wine merchant! So when Rosemary and I did connect-the-dots at one of her readings and realized we’d both been hearing about each other all those years from her husband, it was as though we did already know each other. Once her first book of poetry, Yes., was released in 2011, Rosemary became an ABC author. And what a debut book this has been, with nominations for three major poetry prizes this year alone! Good luck, Rosemary! And these nominations are well-deserved, too. I believe this is the beginning of a very long and successful career. Click here for a link to a video of Rosemary reading at the launch party held at The Auburn Saloon in May 2011.

Yes. 978-1-897181-49-2, 84
Published by Frontenac House

Mennonites Don’t Dance – successful Alberta tour!

We made it through an entire week together, the Early Bird and the Nighthawk, and managed to accomplish exactly what we set out to do – raise awareness of Darcie Friesen Hossack, and of her newly published book,Mennonites Don’t Dance, and we even sold a good number of books along the way.

Now, book sales are how everyone else in this business gauges success of a promotional campaign; I’m trying to convince the traditionals that getting the name of the author out there, encouraging readers to discover a new author’s work, and making sure the author meets all of the most important people who will then talk up her book, will lead to book sales – but none of this can happen overnight. If you don’t tell readers about a new book and its author, how will they know to buy, borrow and read it, and then recommend it to their friends? What I’m trying to do as Writer Wrangler (my sister’s new title for this job I’ve created – manager just never seemed exact) is raise the profile of authors, and all their work, not just their most recent publication – but I am not trying to duplicate what publishers are already contracted to do for these authors, by way of promotion and publicity. I’m also helping authors develop other areas where they might be active, or creative – as journalists, speakers, teachers – trying to find them paid gigs, and introducing them to specific groups of readers, especially those who never set foot in a bookstore or a library, and who may not otherwise have been aware of these authors or bought/borrowed their books.

Darcie has been a food columnist for her local Kelowna and area print newspapers for six years. Her column now also appears in The Calgary Beacon, online. These past few months, Darcie has appeared online in an informal blog tour, which is soon to be ramped up towards December. Mennonites Don’t Dance is now listed on Book Club Buddy, and book clubs across North America can read an interview with Darcie, reviews of the book, and consider adopting it for discussion. (Thanks, Pearl Luke!) We’ve planted the seeds for a much more comprehensive tour of the Prairies during Spring 2011, and hope to promote several other Mennonite authors at the same time. People may have come for the cream cookies served at several readings in Calgary and Lethbridge last week, but they also enjoyed what they heard, and bought many copies of Darcie’s book.

Finally, I introduced Darcie to as many booksellers, librarians, friends and readers as I could during the week. This is word-of-mouth promotion, folks, and it still works better than any other kind there is. I have no doubt that readers will now “discover” this new writer over the coming weeks, months, and that Mennonites Don’t Dance will sell through, steadily, into the spring when we will be organized to do this all over again, and further afield, spreading the word about this great author and her book.

Please note, as Writer Wrangler I will not take on any author for promotion unless I truly believe in them, and their work – and in their ability to help themselves by working hard to promote, in a positive, unagressive way. As a reader, I endorse the writing of all the Alberta Books Canada authors: Betty Jane Hegerat, Bob Stallworthy, Deborah Miller, Barb Howard and Susan Calder, and of my former Humber classmate, Darcie Friesen Hossack, who has done exactly as we all expected… was the first in our class to be published, and has written a book that I am now very proud to help her to promote.

So, I’m very pleased to be able to say, “I’m with the author!” After all, if it weren’t for great authors like these, we wouldn’t have books to sell, buy, borrow, read, and enjoy.

Here’s Darcie’s take on the week of Oct. 17th – 22nd:
mennonites don’t dance on the road – day one
mennonites don’t dance on the road – day two
mennonites don’t dance on the road – day three
mennonites don’t dance on the road – day four
mennonites don’t dance on the road – day 5
mennonites don’t dance on the road – day 6

And then, we get to taste the fresh fruits of our labours! Makes it all worth while…