By Scott Lorenz
“The library marketplace is made up of almost 120,000 locations and is divided into many segments. In addition to the more than 16,500 public libraries and their branches, there are medical libraries, hospital libraries, military libraries, niche libraries, and more,” explained Brian Jud, Executive Director of APSS, formerly SPAN and founder of Bookselling University.
So, what does this mean for you? A prime opportunity for you as an author to expand your reach, build your brand, and sell more books. Here are some handy tips on how to get your books into libraries.
1. Do Your Research – Think like a Librarian!
Check out the websites of various public libraries to find out what you need to do to get your book into circulation. You may also call or visit them and speak to the head librarians or the departments that relate to your specific book genre.
2. Explore WorldCat
With WorldCat, you can search your community libraries as well as other local and national libraries to browse their collections. This can give you an idea of what types of books a certain library may want.
3. Be Friendly and Enthusiastic
Whether you consult the libraries in-person, via phone, or email, be polite. Also, show some excitement so that they see your passion for your work and remember you when it comes time to select new books.
4. Design a Sell Sheet
At its core, a sell sheet is a one-page advertisement of your book. Make sure it includes its title, cover, publisher, a brief description, ISBNs, available formats, and pricing. Don’t forget a blurb about why it may appeal to library patrons and mention if your book is already in a library too. Librarians like to see they are in good company.
“Sell what the content in your book does for the readers—what are the benefits to them,” said Jud. He explained that people don’t actually care about your book. Retailers display them to increase profits. Media hosts want a good show. Librarians want to support their patrons. As long as you appeal to the right motive, you’ll sell more books.
5. Organize an Author Reading or Book Signing
If you offer to organize an event like an author reading or book signing, everyone will win. You’ll boost your exposure while the library will get free programming. If you go this route, you’ll need to promote your event to ensure a good turnout.
6. Get Reviews
Great book reviews can speak volumes about your book and you as an author. Before you try to get your book into libraries, ensure you have them. Librarians want to see that others admire your book before they take the plunge and circulate it. A published review in a journal like Library Journal, Publisher’s Weekly, or Midwest Book Review can help establish credibility as well.
7. Get Involved in the Library Community
The reality is that many libraries like to fill their shelves with books that are popular, even on a local level. That’s why it’s wise to get out in your community and participate in local events and speaking engagements. Join local organizations, volunteer, and take any TV or radio opportunity that comes your way. Also, make sure you have a stellar social media presence.
8. Attend the ALA Annual Conference
The American Library Association hosts an annual library conference. If you’re serious about getting your book into libraries, it may be worthwhile to attend and mingle librarians. The 2021 conference will be held virtually this year on June 21-23. On Twitter follow @ALALibriary to keep up with daily posts and opportunities.
9. Check Out Writer’s Digest Advice
Writer’s Digest asked four Indie authors for their tips on how to get books into libraries. You don’t have to be an Indie author to take advantage of them. Be sure to check out this article before you get started.
10. Buy a Book
Self-Publisher’s Toolkit is a helpful book that serves as a two-in-one resource that shows you how to self-publish a book and then market it to Libraries. The author says, “Libraries are a $30+ billion segment often overlooked by self-publishers.” https://www.eseinc1.com/product-page
11. Use a Service
Don’t be afraid to use a service to help you get your book into libraries. Here are several to consider.
- LibraryBub: LibraryBub is a service that introduces the top small press and indie books to librarians. You can apply for a featured deal in its weekly email and reach over 10,000 librarians every week. (I use them and its affordable and effective)
- Baker & Taylor: Baker & Taylor has been around for over 180 years and distributes books to public libraries and schools. Contact Baker & Taylor to find out how they can assist you.
- Ingram Content Group: An online self-publishing company, Ingram Content Group can allow you to print and distribute your book to libraries. Call or email them for more information.
- Buy a Library Database: Curated by a fellow author, Eric Simmons compiled a database of Libraries you can contact directly. Over 100 authors and publishing houses are using the Library Contacts Database to get their books into Libraries. Simmons’ tool, which has enabled him to get his titles into over 130 Libraries worldwide, is the best deal in publishing! Just BUY IT!
The Bottom Line: Once you get into one library, you’ll find it much easier to get into others. When your book is in several libraries, you’ll build trust among readers, increase exposure, and ultimately sell more copies.
Book publicist Scott Lorenz is President of Westwind Communications, a public relations and marketing firm that has a special knack for working with authors to help them get all the publicity they deserve and more. Lorenz works with bestselling authors and self-published authors promoting all types of books, whether it’s their first book or their 15th book. He’s handled publicity for books by CEOs, CIA Officers, Navy SEALS, Homemakers, Fitness Gurus, Doctors, Lawyers and Adventurers. His clients have been featured by Good Morning America, FOX & Friends, CNN, ABC News, New York Times, Nightline, TIME, PBS, LA Times, USA Today, Washington Post, Woman’s World, & Howard Stern to name a few.
Learn more about Westwind Communications’ book marketing approach at https://www.WestwindBookMarketing.com or contact Lorenz at [email protected] or 734-667-2090 or fill out the form below. Follow Lorenz on Twitter @aBookPublicist. Want help titling a book? Check out Scott Lorenz’s new award winning, bestselling book: Book Title Generator- A Proven System in Naming Your Book www.BookTitleGenerator.net.
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