A Word About Listings

People who read this blog via RSS won’t notice it, but for a little more than a year I’ve maintained a page on this site dedicated to book readings and signings in the Washington, D.C., area. The format is admittedly clumsy, but I’ve tried to make the listings fairly comprehensive, and the page is easily the site’s most-read individual page. However, these days I think more and more about sunsetting it.

I’d miss maintaining the page if I just stopped doing it. It’s a good way to keep up on who’s planning to come to town, and assembling it occasionally tips me to some important changes in the D.C. bookselling scene. If I hadn’t been updating the page this morning, for instance, I wouldn’t have come across the sad news that Lambda Rising, the District’s pioneering GLBT bookseller, is closing its two stores. But there’s no getting around the fact that doing this is fairly time-consuming, and that there are other places that do this sort of thing with a lot more tech-savvy.

So if you like the listings and would like to see them continue, now is the time to speak up and let me know. I’m not (just) fishing for encouragement—I’d like to hear thoughts about what would make the listings better and more useful. Fewer listings with more specific information? Comments and/or brief reviews? More outbound links? If the listings are meaningful to you in any way, please leave a note in the comments or send me an e-mail. Regardless, thank you for taking the time to read this site.

6 responses to “A Word About Listings

  1. I’d miss the listings of readings and signings. It also should be said that not to announce that these events are upcoming (and I believe that there are a number of events here that Booktour.com doesn’t list, and that, probably, the City Paper and the Post are not going to have space for) is to increase the possibility that the number of author events will decrease in this area.

    http://indiereader.com/zine_article.htm?id=31

    is a (long) article by the now-defunct Seattle Post-Intelligencer’s book columnist about the decline and disappearance of book tours that addresses the question of the extent to which local coverage (or announcements) of author appearances influences publishers.

    Here’s an example: Last year Sherill Tippins, the author of “February House” and a book about the Chelsea Hotel which Houghton is to publish, appeared in Georgetown. The event went unmentioned in the Post, City Paper, and, I think, here. So I had no idea it had happened until a few weeks later when I came across some Twitter reference. I later learned six people had turned up for it.

    • Thanks for weighing in, Lawrence. It’s interesting that you bring up Georgetown, because the hardest part of maintaining the listings is keeping up with what’s happening at local universities. G’town, GMU, GW, and others routinely get authors to speak, but their press offices don’t always do a very good job of getting the word out; sometimes it’s left to somebody within the department who brought in the author to contact the media or post something on the department blog, but those announcements don’t always get made. I spoke on a panel at UMBC recently about working with the media, and I stressed that colleges don’t always realize that much of what they do has a lot of appeal to people outside the campus.

  2. I’m speaking up — as a DC newbie in the last year, your list has been helpful to me, and I would have missed at least a couple of events this year without it. That’s not to say that I don’t sympathize regarding the amount of effort you have to put in. Maybe you could just be more selective about which readings to include.

  3. I concur with what Levi said. I’ve relied on your listings since the Sunday Book World went kaput. On the other hand, if not doing the listings allows you to spend more time on the already excellent content of your blog, that’s something I’d have to think about.

  4. I’ve definitely appreciated your listing of local events, but as you point out, there are venues people can turn to. I would certainly understanding your sunsetting the calendar.

    As Lawrence pointed out, it’s often tough to get lit related stuff listed anywhere. So your site is always welcome. But I like following your blog period, checking in when I can. I’m not sure I’m giving you any helpful feedback.

    • You absolutely are, Kyle—thank you! One reason why I asked is that I wanted some confirmation that there are locals who do consult this page on some kind of regular basis. In my more cynical moments, I figure most people showing up there are authors googling themselves. But “lauren conrad dc appearance” is getting some heat in my search logs, so I’m increasingly feeling like I’m performing a public service!

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