Get Real!

It’s funny how two articles about two completely different subjects can have a tie-in.

When a recent news headline appeared out of nowhere about an upcoming book being penned by one of the Real Housewives of New Jersey, I could only think about the common occurrence of bigwig publishing companies signing persons- of-visibility-and-popularity. For those interested, HarperCollins It Books is the lucky publisher of this “real” golden opportunity. (Note that I have neither watched RHONJ nor followed news about any of its plots, stars, and what I assume are scripted fights and drama, aka TV fake-outs, in the words of a reality TV industry insider).

I read the brief article and then happened across a few posts by non-fans of the show that sneeringly mentioned they just might check the book out from their local public library in lieu of spending money on a copy.

 This brought to mind another article that crossed my path recently, written by an indie author. This author generously offered to donate a few copies of one of his books to the local library, after which the staff promised the books would be catalogued. Later he found out in disbelief that the books had been either lost or possibly donated by the library to some charity, and that the library had a policy of handling “indie” books differently (in this case, with obvious indifference). He was understandably mystified, outraged and hurt. As an author, I too have experienced some utterly surprising library issues and therefore the article really hit home.

Instead of welcoming indie books, many libraries exhibit prejudice and narrow-mindedness. Excuses for this run the gamut from “The book is self-published…” (horrors!) to “The topic is valuable, but the illustrations don’t compare favorably…” “We have space limitations…” and even “Indie authors can’t appear here to share their books if the books aren’t in our system.” ‘Tis true that books written by cast members of reality/fake/reality shows can be found in public libraries, while a variety of quality educational and entertaining works produced by indie writers and publishers aren’t allowed in, even when offered as a donation. (Thankfully this is not the case with every library; kudos to those that extend open arms.)

Personally, I’m just like a kid in a candy shop with regard to books. I love to peruse the kaleidoscope of colorful, unique covers and illustrations and discover new works on my favorite topics. With regard to libraries, it will be a great day when more will proudly display and promote numerous indie works.

Getting back to reality, it seems that one might have to be fake in order to be taken for real, which can lead to a “real” book publishing deal.  Imagine that!

The upcoming book will apparently be filled with personal family stories, secrets to happiness, and friendship advice, among other things. What might the Real Therapists of New Jersey think?


As a child, Laura Marlowe fell in love with books, poetry, and dogs. Later, Laura began writing poetry and short stories and worked to support animal rights.  Her first published work, Tommy the Throwaway Dog, is especially close to her heart.  She donates books and proceeds from the sales of the book, iBook and DVD and appears by invitation at special events and institutions to share her work as an author and animal welfare activist.  In her spare time she listens to international music and travels.  Her second educational children’s book, Roo B. Dee and the Lazy Day, is now delighting and inspiring youngsters and adults.



Posted by on August 31, 2012. Filed under Books. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.

15 Responses to Get Real!

  1. Rebecca Fronzaglio

    August 31, 2012 at 9:02 am

    I never thought library staff would do something like that. That’s the first I ever heard of such a thing. That’s a real insult and slap-in-the-face for an author to have their donated book thrown-out or “re-donated”. Writing a book is such a personal accomplishment. The author allows anyone that’s willing, to step into their world and imagination for a while. Regardless of who wrote the book and who published it, as long as it’s material is appropriate, the library staff should accept the book as a gift, and be grateful to receive it. Give readers a chance to choose for themselves which books they want to read. Personally, when I was a child looking at books in the library, I didn’t know the difference if the book was published by a Indie, Self, or Traditional Publisher, and I didn’t care. Of all the people, (besides your family and friends), you would think your local libraries would be most accepting and proud to support local authors. Oh well, another disappointment for an Indie. But, as always, I still know a great book when I read one, and that fact can never be thrown-out. So Cheers to Reternity, Tommy the Throwaway Dog, and all the other great Indie books that entertain and uplift us. I know and I repeat the word know…that once in the right hands, these great books will be loved and treasured by readers everywhere. It’s only a matter of time.
    Yours Truely,
    Rebecca Fronzaglio
    Mommy and Me Let Insects Free
    The Un-invited Mouse

    • Laura Marlowe

      August 31, 2012 at 10:18 am

      And cheers to you, Rebecca, for your wonderful comments. Yes, such occurrences as briefly mentioned in this article are more common than one would think. There are countless indie works senselessly going to waste, being unfairly bashed and utterly disregarded, but thankfully there are people with the good sense and heart who instead praise the value of many indie works and help promote and sell them. By the way, talk about fun timing: I am happy to share that a public library has enthusiastically invited me to do a reading, Q&A and signing; this transpired not through my efforts, but instead thanks to a referral by a city council member :) I am grateful for the interest and the opportunity this affords, and I continue to be grateful to each reading institution that has acquired my books, promoted my books, and invited me to appear. Thanks again, and wishing you a great day!

  2. Irma Jacobs Tirro Author of The Lonely Snowflake and It's Almost Friday

    August 31, 2012 at 9:45 am

    I was astounded at the action, or lack thereof, of that library. I will certainly go to my library and ask what their policies are on Indie published books. The choice of my words to them will be determined by their answer, and if Indie published books are put on the shelf, I want to know what they are.

    Thanks for alerting us to this.

    • Laura Marlowe

      August 31, 2012 at 10:33 am

      It is astounding, isn’t it! To know that certain libraries (public READING institutions) have such rules and are staffed by people who would dare treat authors -let alone generous authors who wish to make donations- in such a manner is mind-boggling. I never would have imagined it…but, as noted in my article, this is not the case with every library, thank goodness. May there be more open doors before too long! Many thanks for reading and commenting on the article, Irma.

  3. Neal Wooten

    August 31, 2012 at 9:59 am

    Real Housewives of New Jersey; let’s just say I’m glued to the TV every time that’s on – not. I’d rather be having a root canal while a hungry pack of Hyenas chew on my rear end.

    I, too, have experienced the lack-of-excitement when approaching libraries. I have sold over 200 copies of my books in the tiny, and only, bookstore in my hometown, but an offer to donate books to the local library was simply ignored for the most part. Finally, after repeated offers, they emailed to say I could send them books if I wanted, but they couldn’t promise anything.

    One thing they certainly can’t promise is civility.

    • Laura Marlowe

      August 31, 2012 at 10:53 am

      Thanks to your ever-present and wonderful sense of humor, I’m laughing and laughing and therefore having trouble typing!!! The visual of undergoing a most unpleasant dental procedure while laughing hyenas are working “elsewhere” is JUST TOO FUNNY!!!!! (However, you’re right about the choice; it would be far less painful!)

      But on to the seriousness of the matter: Indeed, the tales of library staff INcivility are numerous.

      The local libraries that choose to not acquire indie works (including those by award-winning authors such as yourself) are doing a great disservice to the community while insulting writers.

      Many thanks for everything, Neal! You truly are one-of-a-kind and so very much admired and appreciated.

  4. Darcie Mae

    August 31, 2012 at 11:47 am

    I must say I have donated my children’s books to my town library, with no so much as a thank you. I gave a copy of my books to the Madison Library without even a thank you. I have donated my books to 3 schools that I substitute teach in, and the children love that. You mentioned a book on animal cruelty. I also have a story, all illustrated , about an abused dog that a little boy saves, helps it heal, and adopts it in the end. Haven’t got it pblished yest, but I do want to share profits with the ASPCA. I could go on and on. I enjoyed your article and learned something new.
    Darcie Mae

  5. Donalisa Helsley

    August 31, 2012 at 12:42 pm

    I am a victim of library indifference. It took me months for the library to accept my books and only after a few librarians that had known me since childhood fought for me. My books can now be found at one library in Oklahoma, on a special shelf that spotlights Oklahoma authors. Of course it can also be found through the catalogue. Awesome post.

    • Laura Marlowe

      August 31, 2012 at 1:40 pm

      First, I am thrilled that your books are catalogued in the library in Oklahoma; that’s wonderful!! The librarians that fought for you are to be commended (and the rest of the library staff should be proud that your works have been added to the Oklahoma Author Spotlight shelf). Bravo!

      Second, many thanks for reading my article; I am so glad that you enjoyed it.

      Wishing you a very happy weekend,


  6. Wow that really isn’t fair. Just another reason for the morality in our society to ditch the good stuff in favor of the self-important drama on TV. Thanks for the heads-up on libraries. You wouldn’t think that education-promoting institutions would do that sort of thing. Our kids look up to libraries. And when they see things like that – wow, just what are the libraries trying to teach them?

    • Laura Marlowe

      September 4, 2012 at 10:39 am

      Exactly! With regard to children of all ages, imagine how they feel when they hear, “No, we (a public library) do not carry that title.” Again, kudos to the public libraries that do not have such a policy and the staff that welcome indie authors with a sincere smile, a win-win for everyone!

      Many thanks for taking the time to read the article and posting your comment.

      Wishes to you for a great day,


  7. I have had wonderful encounters with libraries, especially the smaller ones. I think it is because the smaller ones have less bureaucracy and are usually staffed by real book lovers.
    Thank you Laura and Best Wishes to you!
    Natalie Starfish

    • Laura Marlowe

      September 5, 2012 at 2:07 pm

      Thank YOU, Natalie! Yes, many libraries do have better policies, as well as staff that enjoy their work…and show it! It’s immensely rewarding for the entire community.

      Blessings to you for your values and the work you engage in, and thank you for your comment posted above.

      Take care and have a fabulous day!


  8. Lenore Lang

    September 8, 2012 at 8:55 am

    It is sad indeed to think that librarians have such a “bias” toward certain books and against others. Thanks for your insightful comments, Laura. They will keep the rest of us on our toes in regard to policy. Thanks again. Lenore

    • Laura Marlowe

      September 9, 2012 at 10:14 am

      You are very welcome, Lenore, and thank you. Hopefully someday such bias will be long over with and forgotten, or at least more of a rarity. Meanwhile, I again state my gratefulness toward those institutions that practice a positive and balanced policy, gladly give respect and opportunity, and deeply appreciate indie authors’ work!

      Happy Sunday to you and yours ☺

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