Hometown Reads! helping them connect with readers in their hometown through what we call the Read Local movement. Founded in 2016, the organize authors by local community.
Ed Battistella: What is Hometown Reads?
Becky Robinson: Hometown Reads is a collaborative community dedicated to serving local authors across the country, by helping them connect with readers in their hometown through what we call the Read Local movement. We provide a free online digital bookshelf, where authors can showcase their books for increased discoverability.
EB: How long has Hometown Reads been doing this?
BR: Hometown Reads launched its first city, Toledo, Ohio in 2016. We celebrated our two year anniversary as a company in March of 2018.
EB: What is the benefit to authors?
BR: Hometown Reads allows authors a free platform to showcase their works amongst others in their hometown for exposure locally (and even globally).
We promote our authors across social media and have created tweets for authors to cross-promote each other and their locations. Each location has a city-specific Facebook group and author-Ambassadors to help grow the Read Local movement in their hometown, as well as share best practices for book marketing.
EB: Are there services for readers who are not authors?
BR: Our site is designed so that readers can search and find both books from their hometown, paired with the hope that they can develop online or in-person connections with their favorite hometown authors. Readers are also able to search by location, genre, and featured books.
EB: How do you pick the towns?
BR: Some of the locations we showcase were suggested by authors, local bookstores, or publishers. Other hometown locations were added when we notice an influx of authors signing up in a particular area. We are always looking for new locations and are open to suggestions.
EB: Are libraries and bookstores involved? How so?
BR: We encourage libraries and bookstores to sign up as Read Local Champions. These community organizations are supporters of the #ReadLocal movement in their hometown. We showcase them on our website and encourage them to implement “Read Local” shelves to support awareness of the local authors in their hometown.
EB: Who sponsors Hometown Reads?
BR: Hometown Reads is sponsored by my core company, Weaving Influence. Weaving Influence, based in Lambertville, Michigan, partners with authors and thought leaders to grow their online influence and market their books. It has grown into a team of more than 30 skilled professionals, offering full-service traditional publicity services and website development, in addition to our social media work and book launch promotion. We currently serve more than 40 clients and have launched more than 100 books since our start in 2012, with more planned for this year. While we primarily serve authors and thought leaders, we also work with corporations, small businesses, and nonprofit organizations.
EB: What are your plans for the future?
BR: We want to continue increasing the number of locations we represent to gain more attention of readers. We plan on launching a new homepage and book page designs in 2018 to make the site more attractive to readers. We want to continue exploring meaningful relationships with Read Local champions, facilitating involvement from our Ambassadors, and finding new, innovative ways to support our local authors.
EB: Thanks for talking with us.
BR: Thanks for your support of Hometown Reads in Ashland!