Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Grace-filled Tuesdays (Book Club "Meeting" #21): Shelf Esteem

I had the thrill of a lifetime this past weekend, while out at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, IN.  Yes, I did go to the game on Saturday night with my hubby (ND Class of 1980) and a slew of other Pearl relatives, but that part was hardly thrilling.  (If you're an Irish football fan, I don't have to tell you what a depressing experience it was watching our boys lose to Michigan State and effectively end their hopes of having a successful season.)

But on a lighter note, my husband and I did spy something pretty ding-dang cool at Notre Dame's Hammes Bookstore. Two somethings, actually; and I thought I'd tell you about that today, because it's Tuesday--and Tuesdays are full of Grace...and Erin.

That's right, it's  Book Club time.
Shortly after Finding Grace was published in 2012, I contacted the Hammes Bookstore to see if my humble first novel, which included a key scene at Notre Dame's famed grotto (a replica of the one at Lourdes), was something they would be interested in carrying.  I was a newly-minted published author at the time, and I was a bit too shy to do much good in the marketing department; so as you can imagine I didn't "sell" the book very well in my email.  Not too surprisingly, I got a kindly worded rejection note from the folks at ND.

Fast-forward to last football season, when my second novel, Erin's Ring, had already been out for almost a year and had received two book awards from the Catholic Press Association: My husband's sister and I were walking past a display of Irish-themed books at the bookstore, during one of our Pearl family get-togethers out in South Bend, and she commented, "Your book should be here!"  I told her I'd already gone down that road a few years back, without success; and she said, "But now you're an award-winner.  You should try again!"  (I just love my super-supportive, always-affirming Pearl relatives.)

So I wrote another email, feeling slightly more confident this time...and lo and behold, last winter, the Hammes Bookstore ordered five copies of Erin's Ring and three copies of Finding Grace!  Then in May, they wrote to me again to say that Erin's Ring was almost sold out and they wanted five more copies.  And then in August, they requested ten more!  I'm still pinching myself here.

While we were out there I just had to see my books on those shelves with my own two eyes.  So after we arrived on campus Friday afternoon, the bookstore was our first stop.
There's Finding Grace, on the bottom shelf, far right.

I can't help but think that the lovely front cover, chosen by
Cheryl Dickow at Bezalel Books, helps to sell Erin's Ring.

It was kind of surreal for me to find those books on actual bookstore shelves.  And not just any bookstore's shelves, either.  On the shelves of the bookstore at my husband's and sons' beloved alma mater.  With price tags that say "Univ. of Notre Dame" above the bar codes!  I never thought I'd see the day!

Exclusively online book sales are the norm these days for little-known authors like myself, and unless your books are bestsellers, it's hard to get them on the shelves of real live bookstores; so these sightings of Erin's Ring and Finding Grace at the Hammes Bookstore gave my novels a much-needed shot of shelf esteem.

I was one happy author, I tell you.
We'd had to get up at 2:30 a.m. that day to get ready to catch an early flight,
and had had a long day of travel by this point; thus the epic eye bags!

The joy of finding Finding Grace!
If you have any questions regarding either of my novels, please leave me a comment.  I'd love to hear from you--and your queries could provide fodder for a little Q and A session at the next meeting of the club, perhaps? 

Okay, before I sign off: just a reminder that I'm giving away five free copies of Erin's Ring. 
The winners will be picked on Nov. 1.  To be entered to win, just share a link to this blog post on your blog, on Twitter, or on Facebook--basically, on any form of social media that you enjoy.  Contact me when you do, and I'll throw your name in the hat.


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks so much. You guys are always so supportive. XO

  2. Congratulations! Seeing your books on Notre Dame's bookstore shelves is awe-inspiring. So glad I have both.

    1. You have always been such a good friend to me. Thanks for being a good friend to my books, too.

  3. Hi Laura! Congratulations! What an exciting time for you! I had a daughter illustrate a book and I was so happy for her! I did not have the thrill of seeing it in a bookstore but it is on Amazon. It is about a young lady named Hannah who has Down Syndrome and dances at my daughters' ballet studio.

    I am not on Facebook or Twitter, but I shared the link with my homeschooling support group. By the way, I met two of your lovely daughters back in 2012 when they helped DJ a pro-life "Mom Prom" that I organized at Seton School.
    God bless you and keep writing,

    1. Hi Sherri,

      You've gotten me interested in checking out your daughter's book. What's the title?

      Thanks for sharing the link with your homeschooling group--you are now officially entered in the giveaway contest. I don't have any daughters, however; only sons, five of them. Four are married, so I have some daughters-in-law now, too. One of them went to a Seton high school in VA, coincidentally. But I believe you must have met some unrelated Pearls. :)

      Thanks for the encouragement. It is so appreciated.