Read Local: Hometown Reads Showcasing Over 600 Authors in 25 Cities

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Site connects readers with local authors; new cities launching weekly

“The market for each book is so huge, and each reader in a market is overwhelmed with so many choices, that authors need to start where they are." —Becky Robinson, Founder of Hometown Reads and parent company Weaving Influence

A small business in Michigan has collected more than 600 books from 25 cities across the country for an online showcase of local writing talent called Hometown Reads. The site is searchable by genre and location so that every reader can discover their new favorite authors living right next door.

In early 2016, book marketing company Weaving Influence began inviting authors across the country to join the Hometown Reads network. Six hundred authors responded and are now featured on the program’s main website, with more being added every day.

With up to one million books published in the U.S. each year, it can be difficult for an author—especially one who is self-published—to cut through the noise and reach readers, even those living just a few miles away.

Although the publishing industry continues to explode, readers are not buying as many books. The number of self-published books grew 422 percent between 2007 and 2012, but sales of adult nonfiction print units fell each year between 2007 and 2014 according to Steven Piersanti, president of Berrett-Koehler Publishers. E-book sales also stopped growing in 2013.

The result? An oversaturated market—far too many books for every reader.

Becky Robinson, CEO and founder of Weaving Influence, has launched over 70 books for clients since 2011, guiding them on how to establish and maintain a strong digital presence and get noticed by the traditional media. She started Hometown Reads because in the midst of this market oversaturation, she felt authors and experts were often hidden in their own local areas.

“The market for each book is so huge, and each reader in a market is overwhelmed with so many choices, that authors need to start where they are,” she said. “You have to start with the networks that are closest to you. If you can mobilize those people to share the word, then fairly soon you’re going to reach a much wider network.”

Local authors say they've enjoyed being connected to their communities through Hometown Reads:

“Being a local author humanizes and personalizes the experience of both writing and reading, and—much like the ‘eat local’ movement—does not require intermediaries between the organic ‘grower’ (the author) and the ‘consumer’ (the reader) taking in the nourishment of the writing,” said featured Oakland, Calif. author Naomi Rose.

“There’s so many books out there because so many people are self-publishing. The challenge is rising above the noise,” said featured Dallas author Dianna Booher. Booher has written 47 books and has been quoted in national publications like the Wall Street Journal and Forbes.

Robinson and featured authors from each city are available for interviews on topics such as:

How the first 25 cities were selected
How ‘reading local’ fits into the ‘shop local’ and ‘eat local’ movements
Why authors should have a social media presence
What readers can get out of Hometown Reads
How to finally write and market your own self-published book

Hometown Reads currently features books from 25 U.S. cities, with more launching each week based on author interest:

1. Ann Arbor, Mich.
2. Atlanta, Georgia
3. Bend, Ore.
4. Boston, Mass.
5. Chicago, Ill.
6. Cincinnati, Ohio
7. Cleveland, Ohio
8. Columbus, Ohio
9. Dallas, Texas
10. Detroit, Mich.
11. Fenton, Mich.
12. Fresno, Calif.
13. Grand Rapids, Mich.
14. Indianapolis, Ind.
15. Kansas City, Mo.
16. Las Vegas, Nev.
17. Oakland, Calif.
18. Petaluma, Calif.
19. Portland, Ore.
20. San Diego, Calif.
21. San Francisco, Calif.
22. Santa Rosa, Calif.
23. Spokane, Wash.
24. Toledo, Ohio
25. Twin Cities, Minn.

Authors with a published book of any genre can sign up to participate in the program at http://www.hometownreads.com/join. Weaving Influence experts will also provide Hometown Reads authors with assistance for effectively marketing their work.

Authors and readers can track the latest news from Hometown Reads on Twitter and Facebook.

More about Weaving Influence:
Weaving Influence is a boutique digital and public relations firm based in Lambertville, Michigan, that 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 70 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. Find more at http://www.weavinginfluence.com.

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Becky Robinson
@hometownreads
since: 01/2016
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