The American Library Association annual conference in Chicago has come and gone, and I was privileged to be a part of it signing books for Central Recovery Press and Consortium Book Sales Distributors. THANK YOU, All!
Interesting business, book signing. Sales and Marketing Manager Patrick Hughes was giving away copies of IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU — EXCEPT WHEN IT IS! to conference attendees who were predominantly librarians and higher-ups in the national library community. According to a long-time attendee whom I met on the shuttle bus to McCormick Convention Center from the hotel, the ALA has upwards of 50,000 people among its membership, with some 20,000 attending the annual conference. I would like to know what the estimation might be for readers reached per capita for librarians in attendance, but I think it’s a fair guess that the conference attendees are in the drivers’ seat of book dispensers nationwide.
Thanks to the starred review in the The Library Journal in December, my perspective from life in the trenches for a couple of decades as the parent of an offspring battling addiction came to the attention of the library community early on, which placed it as a top seller of 2012, earning me a place at the ALA conference — THANK YOU, CRP! Reactions to the book at the conference were what you’d expect, on the average.
My guess was that people with their own history of living with addicted loved ones stopped, looked at the book, and listened to Patrick or me talk about it, eagerly taking signed copy with them. Some people would glance at the promotional signage, look away and move on quickly — perhaps those with a “history” who didn’t want to wade into it at the ALA conference, preferring to cover other more congenial ground. Others would listen as Patrick or I would tell about why the book was written. If I they said they did not have any addiction in their family I would say, “But I bet you know someone who does…” and more often than not they would be glad to accept a signed copy.
Between the Consortium Book Sales booth and the CRP booth, we sent a lot of books on their way in two and a half hours. And every book that went away from our table has a good chance of reaching numbers of readers in the library world which is the beauty of attending the ALA Conference.
Patrick and I talked about where the book might go from here. I would like to add a section on living with active addiction, to which I have been directly exposed since last November. My own recovery program has been strongly tested and sometimes found wanting, but always with signposts to lead me out of crisis. The journey has been rich and heartbreaking and illuminating and at times scary as hell, but the important thing is that it has been DOABLE.
“Doable” recovery for real parents from a real parent is why this book was written. While people are not coming out of the woodwork waving their arms and hollering, “I’m over here, throw me a copy, ” nor are agencies lining up for copies to use with clients and families, the librarians are doing what librarians do best, which is getting the word out to their readers about the fresh reading and resources reaching their shelves.
Word of mouth — which can never be underestimated — is also at work. Yes, I am impatient (did you ever know a codependent who isn’t?) and would like to see the plethora of family members living secretly and openly with their travail receive a “field manual” for the journey they have been, for whatever reasons, forced to undertake. But we’ve got a good thing going for this book, and I have an “attitude of gratitude” for all the help the book and I have been given as we keep on keepin’ on.