dianne salerni author
dianne salerni author

A little over ten years ago, MG/PB author Nancy Viau and a friend were discussing book signings and the awkwardness of sitting at a table alone while shoppers dash by, avoiding eye contact at all costs. They wished there was a way for authors to combine signing events so that no one would have to sit alone. Nancy conceived of a way to do just that, and the KidLit Author Club was born on January 1, 2010. KAC is made up of authors from NY, NJ, PA, MD, DE, and VA who banded together to promote, market, sign, and sell their books at bookstores, schools, libraries, conferences, and festivals.

I wasn’t part of the club back then but joined in 2013, shortly after the release of my second book, The Caged Graves. By then, the KidLit Author Club not only organized multi-author signing events, but they had started attending conferences, making presentations as a team, and basically providing a support network for fellow members. They spread the word about new opportunities, recommended other authors for events they were unable to attend themselves, and generally provided advice on how to promote books without going crazy.

KidLit Authors at Books a Million, 2013

Although I enjoyed being a member from the start, it wasn’t until I retired from teaching in 2014 that I truly appreciated what KAC had to offer. One of my biggest apprehensions about leaving the teaching profession to write full time was the loss of co-workers. I was afraid of the loneliness of working alone. However, in the fall of 2014, I attended five or six events with various KidLit Author members and realized that I DID have co-workers! It wasn’t necessarily the same combination of authors at every event, but the familiar faces — especially at out-of-town events — assuaged my fear of being alone. I had new co-workers. I had new friends.

KAC at the Baltimore Book Festival, 2014
KAC at the New Jersey Association of School Librarians Conference, 2014
Hanging out at the bar with Lee Harper, Nancy Viau, and Timothy Young after the NJASL conference, 2014

I posted the above photo on Facebook with the caption Hanging out at the hotel bar ON A SCHOOL NIGHT. Author vs teacher WINS. I remember this as the evening I realized everything was going to be okay.

The KidLit Author Club helped me make the transition to being a full time author, coaching me on how to get out there and even — this was a huge thing for me at the time — drive hours away from home to attend an event. I’m excited to still be part of this group, and I look forward to attending events with them as they enter their second decade of existence — promoting my new book, Eleanor, Alice, & the Roosevelt Ghosts, coming from Holiday House on September 1, 2020. (Cover reveal soon!)