Five Fearless Tips to Market Your Fantasy or Science Fiction Book

For many readers, summer marks the perfect time to slow down and pick up a new book or two to savor, whether basking in the sun on the beach or camping in alpine meadows … or adhering to the same work schedule as always. Book sales in the fiction genre, including science fiction and fantasy, spike at this time of year, and for good reason! Whether readers are looking for their next travel-friendly book or for a way to escape when they’re stuck in place, the fantastical and the technological sublime are the perfect escape valve.

They’re also, sometimes, difficult books to market. Both science fiction and fantasy qualify as “genre fiction,” and while massive numbers of science fiction and fantasy books are sold each year, those numbers are not, by and large, coming from standard bookstore sales and standard marketing campaigns. If you’ve recently published a work of science fiction or fantasy yourself, you’re probably already aware of the fact that your ideal readers, while incredibly loyal, can be difficult to reach.

So how do you market to them effectively? Here are five fearless ideas to get you started.

1. Publish an ebook edition.

Nothing appeals to readers of genre fiction quite as much as accessibility, transportability, and ease of use. After all, many of your readers are on the move at this time of year, and the others are likely too busy to bother with shopping at physical stores every time they want a new science fiction or fantasy book, which is on average more frequently than readers of pretty much any other genre when you consider the numbers. If you want your book to be easy to find and easy to buy, you absolutely must consider investing in an ebook edition of your book if you haven’t already. You can promote the release of your new ebook edition on your website, blog, and social media sites, and even offer an e-giveaway to boost traffic and engagement on all of the above websites!

2. Get thee to social media, STAT.

It naturally follows that you need to be online, and you need to have a robust digital footprint. Readers of science fiction and fantasy, once they fall in love with a book of yours, will want to engage with you online. And most, if not all, of the top science fiction and fantasy authors are already online, so rounding out your social media platforms isn’t so much giving you a foot up over the competition as it is leveling the playing field. Luckily, plenty of established authors love to network and boost their fellow authors on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and elsewhere, so don’t forget to follow your favorites and interact with their tweets and posts. They are likely to respond, follow you back, and help get news of your latest book out there. Perhaps it’s a legacy from the difficult, hard-boiled bootstrap days that current science fiction and fantasy authors went through in the 1980s and 1990s, but science fiction and fantasy authors tend to be more supportive and collaborative than authors in many other genres. And don’t forget about Reddit! Many of your ideal, technologically-savvy readers are to be found on that website, debating upcoming releases and the details of their current favorites.

3. Make sure your book cover is on point.

Each genre has a kind of shared visual vocabulary, and when you peruse the shelves of your local bookstore or web-based sales platform, it’s easy to see just how the vocabulary differs from one genre to another. Can you guess which of the five book covers we’ve included at the top of this post are science fiction and which are fantasy? Here’s a hint: there’s a lot to do with the font, the imagery, and the prominence given to the title. And here’s the thing: the difference between your average science fiction and your average fantasy book cover is much less pronounced than the difference between covers in these genres as compared to books in other genres, such as crime fiction and romance. When you set out to design your book’s cover, or hire an expert to do so, spend some time analyzing what makes for particularly eye-catching book covers in your chosen genre … and make sure to include some of those same visual cues in yours! In the end, readers do tend to judge a book by its cover, at least a little, especially when they already know what they like and are looking for books which may do something similarly and well.

4. Find your nearest convention.

Here’s the flipside to the whole “ease of access, go digital” coin: many readers in the science fiction and fantasy genres love to discover new books in person, too. And there’s no better way to identify your local genre-lovers than to attend your nearest convention! While many of these are still classified as “comic cons,” most conventions have expanded their offerings to include all things science fiction and fantasy, and many will actively solicit vendors and presenters from creators within these genres. Many of the biggest conventions may be too expensive to afford vendor privileges (including the San Diego Comic Con, Dragon Con, and the Denver Comic Con), there are always plenty of smaller conventions with more reasonable fees taking place around the country at the city or regional level. Hop online and search for events happening in your area, and reach out to the event organizers to inquire about pricing and ways to promote your book. Even if you only break even on sales at one of these conventions, you’ll have raised a great deal of awareness about your book, which can have cascading positive repercussions for your marketing strategy. And most often, you’ll do much better than simply breaking even!

5. Reach out to the genre gatekeepers.

Convention organizers are only one category of important gatekeepers you need to be reaching out to if you truly want to boost sales of your science fiction or fantasy book! Many readers in these genres find their books by word of mouth, and from their favorite online content providers, including pop culture bloggers, vloggers, reviewers, and podcasters. Do some research into the most popular personalities in all four of these categories. And once you’ve identified them, use your social media platforms to engage with them. Once you have established some sort of digital handshake, you can reach out to them to request a shout-out on Twitter or a review of your book. Even if not every one of these genre gatekeepers has the time to do so, it’s likely that at least one of them will be interested if you truly do your research and contact all of the likely candidates. All it takes is one positive response to get the ball rolling!

Still not sure where to start in marketing your book this summer? It may be time to lean on an expert! If you’re looking to market your science fiction or fantasy book, there’s never a better time than now to inquire. Visit us online at www.outskirtspress.com or access our wonderful free resource center at http://anyflip.com/bookcase/mhpb, where you’ll find countless further recommendations to suit your marketing needs.

To see our staff picks of amazing science fiction and fantasy books from many of our authors, visit our Pinterest page by clicking here.

 

Marketing Your Book on Amazon – Part 2 of 3

Welcome to Part Two of a three-part summer series focusing on successfully and efficiently marketing your book on Amazon. Last time in Part One we discussed writing reviews for other products and books and explained why it is an important part of book marketing. Part two will discuss soliciting reviews for your book and how to do it properly. Part three will explain why reviews (both giving and receiving) can “tilt” Amazon’s search algorithm in your favor and how you can tilt it further by taking other simple steps.

Part Two: Soliciting Reviews For Your Book

Once your book is published and available for sale on Amazon, one of the first things you need to focus on is getting (positive) Amazon book reviews. “Positive” is in parentheses because it is typically frowned upon to out-and-out ask for a “positive” book review, but let’s face it — only the positive ones are doing you any good! So that’s certainly your goal — acquiring book reviews in the 4-5 star range. Ultimately, however, as you get more Amazon reviews, your average star-rating will be out of your control. So, all you can really do is seek out Amazon book reviews via the methods below, and hope your book is good enough to secure the “positive” reviews you need. Here are three great ways to get reviews:

1. Reviews in Exchange for Free Copies

A widely accepted and common practice for acquiring Amazon book reviews is giving away copies of your book in exchange for reviews. This is usually the most successful when performed in person, when you literally hand a paperback or hardback copy of your book to someone you know and say something like: “If you enjoy this, I would really appreciate it if you could post your review on Amazon.”

Offer to sign it. Then write something like, “I hope you enjoy this! ” as a “subtle” reminder. Not everyone you give your book to will write a review for it, but this has a high ratio of success. Obviously, the better you know someone, the more likely it is they will write a review. You can limit the number of free copies you give away by only offering copies to people who will appreciate or value your book. Don’t give your hardcore horror novel to your grandmother, for example (unless you happen to know that’s her cup of tea).

You can also do this online by offering your ebook edition to a community of readers in exchange for a review. Facebook is full of communities with this purpose, and Goodreads is another good choice.

2. Reviews in Exchange for Reviews

If you’re at an author event and you are following the suggestion above by handing out copies of your book for reviews, don’t be surprised to be on the receiving end of a similar request. This is a stroke of luck! Other authors are your most likely candidates for a book review, because they want you to write a review of their book, too. Swap copies, vow to swap reviews, and sign each other’s books! This type of networking is part of the benefits of being a published writer; take advantage of it by broadening your reading library, widening your network of colleagues, and increasing the number of reviews you receive.

Again, you can also do this online, where you offer to swap reviews with other writers. How do you suggest an online review swap? By asking for one. “Hello, I’m so-and-so, author of such-and-such, and if you’d like to swap Amazon book reviews, please get in touch with me.” You can either vow to purchase each other’s books (thereby increasing your respective best sellers rank and getting your author royalties back), or you can exchange digital editions.

This is a great way to build camaraderie in your writing community, but only if you follow through. Don’t participate if you don’t intend on fulfilling your end of the bargain (i.e., purchasing the book, providing the e-book, or writing your reciprocal review). It only take one rotten apple to ruin the bushel.

3. Amazon’s Top Reviewers

Contacting other readers within reading communities is all well and good, but what would be even better? Contacting REVIEWERS within reviewing communities! Reviewing communities? Is there such a thing? Not only is there such a thing, there is the best thing — a community of the top reviewers on Amazon. These are the individuals that Amazon has identified as consistently writing the most frequent, most helpful reviews.

There are two different listings of Amazon’s top reviewers: A listing of Amazon’s “Hall of Fame Reviewers” and a listing of Amazon’s “Top Reviewer Rankings.” You can find both lists at http://www.amazon.com/review/top-reviewers.

Being identified as a “Top Reviewer” is a lifestyle for some of these individuals, and the only way they can maintain their ranking is by continuing to write reviews. That means they are highly motivated!

Some of them are impossible to contact; others are not. Some of them are very specific about the types of products they review; others are not. Some of them provide very specific instructions for how to solicit a review; others do not.

But if you start at the top of each list and work your way down through the profiles of each reviewer, you will identify candidates for your book review. Pay attention to the types of books they enjoy, since your chances of receiving a (positive) review will increase dramatically if you send them the type/genre of book they’ve reviewed positively in the past. Follow their instructions for contacting them to the letter, and always be respectful.

Stay tuned for Part Three where we explain how “activity” around your book can improve your Amazon search rankings. And, if you missed Part One, click here.

Summer Series — Marketing Your Book on Amazon Part 1 of 3

Welcome to Part One of a three-part summer series focusing on successfully and efficiently marketing your book on Amazon. Part one will discuss writing reviews for other products and books and explain why it is an important part of book marketing. Part two will discuss soliciting reviews for your book and how to do it properly. Part three will explain why reviews (both giving and receiving) can “tilt” Amazon’s search algorithm in your favor and how you can tilt it further by taking other simple steps.

Part One: Writing Reviews on Amazon

Writing reviews for other books and products is an important step for your own book marketing efforts. Not only does it allow you to put your name and book title in front of thousands of new people every day, but every review you write is linked to your customer profile (so if you haven’t taken advantage of your customer profile to market your book, do that now at: www.amazon.com/gp/pdp ).

You may be tempted to write a review of your own book. That is not a good idea since Amazon and its community frown upon such tactics. Instead, find books and products that you are familiar with and write reviews for them. If these books and products appeal to your target reader, all the better.

Here are the steps to writing an effective review:

Step 1: Find the book or product you are reviewing on Amazon and go to its sales page. Again, try to pick books or products that will appeal to your reader. After all, the whole point is for them to read your review and notice your book title.

Step 2: Scroll down the Amazon page to the section that says “Customer Reviews” and you will see a button that says “Write a customer review.” Click on that button.

Step 3: If you are not signed-in to your Amazon account, you will need to sign in to your account to write a review. If you do not have an Amazon account, you will need to create one. It is imperative for your book promotion that you have an Amazon account to write reviews and participate in the other promotional tactics we will share with you. But who doesn’t have an Amazon account in this day and age?

Side Note: In order to create an account that is “qualified” to write reviews, you need to have purchased something on Amazon. This is Amazon’s way of preventing review-fraud by ensuring that each review is written by a unique, real person. You’ve most certainly purchased something on Amazon already, but if you haven’t, here’s what you should buy: A copy of your book. You should do this anyway; a book needs at least one Amazon sale to trigger an ABR (Amazon bestseller rank), which is required for Amazon’s search algorithm to kick-in.

Step 4: Once you have an active Amazon account, you can write your review for the book or product you’ve selected (NOT your book). It should be at least 5-10 sentences long and it should end with your author name and a link to your book. That gives your review credibility, in addition to valuable exposure, because you are also a published author. And would Amazon have a function that so easily allows you to create a link to your book if they didn’t want you to use it? Of course not.

Step 5: Before you wrap up your review, don’t forget to use the “Insert Product Link” button. This allows you to add a link to YOUR book in the body of your review. In an alternate browser window, find your book and cut and paste the URL into the field that presents itself after clicking that “Insert Product Link” button. Amazon will use that internet address to find your product, and it will show up for you to confirm. Therefore, your review will end with “Your name, author of such & such” and the best news is, your book title will be clickable!

Write as many reviews for as many books and products as you can. The more reviews you write, the more instances your Profile Link is exposed for others to click on and the more links to your book are in your reviews. It is therefore in your best interest to review books that are related to your subject matter or topic (since customers browsing those reviews will be interested in your book, too).

Stay tuned for Part Two where we discuss the art of acquiring reviews for your own book…

Marketing Your Travel Book in Five Simple Steps

If you’ve spent much time reading the literature of travel, you’ll already know that there are many handy quotes about the process. St. Augustine, for example, is credited with saying that “The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page.” If you’ve recently self-published a book on travel, clearly, you’ve seen more than one page of that book … but what about your readers? How do you ensure that they move from the shelf to the checkout line with your book in hand? How do you ensure that your book meets the readers it needs out there in the world?

We have a few ideas to get you started, exactly five of them in fact. Take advantage of them all and you’ll put your travel book, so to speak, on the map.

ONE: Consider the “Who?” Who are your readers, really? Are they travelers like you, in that they actually move through the physical world and are looking for templates to follow? Or are they what publishers used to call “armchair travelers,” those readers who much preferred to live vicariously through others than to conduct the trips (and endure their hardships) themselves? This being 2018, the conversation about ableism is now well-developed, and we now know that many readers pick up travel books to empower them, and to enable them to experience the world in a way that maybe they couldn’t otherwise. So, with your readers in mind, share content that gets them excited about travel, such as quality social media content, engaging lists and articles; also provide content that helps your readers plan, including itineraries and how-to videos; and lastly, provide content which will help them take an action, such as booking a trip, making a reservation, or accessing their local wildernesses.

TWO: Consider the “What?” As in, what’s your niche? Travel books happen to occupy a difficult niche, as do many other genres, in that they’re read heavily but only by very specific audiences, and sales numbers only occasionally make them blockbuster successes. (Cheryl Strayed’s Wild is a great example of an exception, however.) What this means for self-published authors is that you need to find people who are already interested in your book’s subject, even if they read in different quantities than they might in other genres. Once you find these people, they are an easy sell. And in the age of information, finding them is easier than previous generations could even dream about. Look for those Facebook groups dedicated to travel and ask if anyone is interested in reviewing your travelogue. Hop on Reddit and start a conversation about the destinations you cover. Use your niche to your advantage!

THREE: Consider the “When?” When it comes to travel, the time of year really matters. Take care to highlight seasons in your marketing, especially on visually-driven platforms like Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook: fall colors, winter activities, and seasonal foods go over really well in framing your marketing strategies! Also highlight local holidays, and ways for your readers to celebrate, which festivities to attend, and so forth, and tackle other timely elements that can become the focal point for effective marketing content. Extra content to include on your blog, social media, or website might include a local events guide or seasonal restaurant menus.

FOUR: Consider the “Where?” As with the time of year, your destination really, and truly makes a difference in your marketing strategy! In your marketing materials, make sure to explore destination-specific highlights such as exclusive events and local sights. Take care to showcase the local food and beverage scene, as mentioned earlier, including restaurant recommendations, wine tastings, and foodie-favorite festivals. And lastly, intentionally acquaint your readers with little-known travel tips such as where to find off-the-beaten paths and materials which will enable them to replicate your favorite experiences.

FIVE: Consider the “Why?” Why do your readers read? Why do you write? And most importantly, why do we travel? Remember, the art of a travel book is evoking the feeling of expansion, of exploration, in those who have not had the liberty or means or luck to travel the way that you have. In a sense, this puts a burden of responsibility on you. What can you say and do in your marketing to embrace those readers of limited mobility, who are perhaps constrained by money or by their own bodies and prevented from conducting a trip like yours? You have the ability–and the opportunity–to bring the book of this grand world of ours to your readers and help them flip through a few of its pages. If there’s a more beautiful idea, we haven’t heard it yet.

As Henry Miller put it, “One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.” What better way of helping make the world a better place than by making it possible for your readers to see our beautiful planet through fresh eyes? We hope you’ll take the time to invest in your book’s marketing success now that it exists in this beautiful world of ours.

Still not sure where to start in marketing your book this month? There’s never a better time than now to inquire. Log into your Publishing Center to view all of the marketing services that Outskirts Press offers.

To see our staff picks of amazing travel books from many of our authors, visit our Pinterest page by clicking here.

6 Keys to Promoting Your Self-Published Book on Google

The more time you spend among self-published authors, the more likely you are to realize that book promotion is just as often about finding the time to devote to the process as it is about who you know. When traditional publishing was the only route to publication, this may not have been the case, but in 2018 elbow grease and time are among the most important ingredients to successful book marketing.

With that in mind, wouldn’t it be great if there was a simple, easy, and quick way to find the people or places which were good fits for your book? Knowledge is power, in that spreading the knowledge of your book far and wide and making it easy to discover is a powerful element of your promotional arsenal. Google and other search engines have put the power of advanced Internet search algorithms at your disposal, but not all searches are created equal. In fact, Google makes it possible to promote your books using their search engine for free.

Here are six ways to make Google your ally in promotion:

  1. Help users discover your books by matching the content in your books with user searches. This ties into the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) process, which we have written about on our blog before.
  2. Keep your content protected. Users are able to preview a limited number of pages on Google Books using the preview function and determine whether they’ve found what they’re looking for. It’s useful to use Google to search for those unconscientious websites which mirror, or duplicate, the content of books and offer them for free download. Every few weeks, search your book’s title (with and without the additional term “free”) and double-check that no one is doing this. If they are, it’s time to send a cease-and-desist letter.
  3. Drive book sales by providing links to bookstores and online retailers at every opportunity when generating your own original content, whether on your blog or your website or your various social media platforms. Each link and mention you make of your book online is tracked and incorporated into the algorithms that decide search rankings, and search rankings determine what pops up first in the list of results whenever someone searches for your book or subjects related to your book.
  4. Become a Google Books Partner. Did you know Google is actively seeking partnerships with authors, and that they provide all sorts of resources for promoting your books on Google? Your new one-stop shop for know-how as an author interested in Google’s partnership program is: www.google.com/googlebooks/partners. If you visit this page, you’ll find links with recommendations for self-promotion, resources for authors and publishers, and a collection of success stories. (And let’s face it, we love tapping into the glow of success, if only to learn how others are finding ways to make it work.)
  5. Check out Google Play’s “Book Partners Center,” a separate (but linked) resource which provides step-by-step instructions on how to publish your book as an e-book in the Google Play store, and put your story on Android devices the world over. Of course, if you’re short on time, all the knowledge in the world won’t help you overcome that deficit. In that case, our last recommendation is to …
  6. Consider Outskirts Press’s various Google-related services, including the Google Books Preview Program Submission service, which interfaces directly with Google in order to render your book preview beautiful and findable, and the Amazon Listing Optimization service, which utilizes the latest advances in Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategies in order to boost your Amazon book listing in Google search results.

These six tips will help Google users discover and access your book, as well as help you protect your rights and maintain creative control, and drive book sales. Google is so much more than a search engine, now! Have your book sales been flagging and you can’t figure out why? Visit your Author Center account online at www.outskirtspress.com to explore more marketing options and resources, including the chance to book 5 hours with one of our award-winning Personal Marketing Assistants!

4 Fresh Ways to Market Your Spiritual or Christian Book

No matter what a book’s genre might be, an age-old question emerges: “What makes my book unique? How do I find my ideal readers?” When it comes to Christian and Spiritual books, however, whether fiction or non-fiction, the answer seems deceptively simple. After all, who reads books with a Christian focus? Very likely, people who are Christians themselves. And what about, more generally, Spiritual books? As with Christian literature, works with a spiritual bent tend to appeal to a specific slice of the population. Simple. Straightforward. Easy. Right?

The difficulty with taking this simplistic approach is that both populations (people of faith and people who are spiritual) are enormous! This offers both unique challenges and opportunities for authors looking to market their books in these categories. There are a lot of potential readers out there, and they’re just as diverse a group as any other, in age and origin and interests. Here are four ways to refocus your marketing strategy and reach your ideal readers!

ONE: Don’t be afraid to go social.

You’ve probably heard about the benefits of a well-developed social media campaign before. But did you know that most social media platforms have built-in as well as grassroots options which will give your book, specifically, the boost it needs to reach more readers? Consider Facebook, which has countless book groups you can join, from Avid Readers of Christian Fiction to Christian Fiction Writers to Christian Fiction Fans, and many, many more. Goodreads, too, offers book clubs and social groups along these lines where your book can find a home. Meanwhile, Twitter features a number of important hashtags you can use in your tweets in order to promote your book on that platform, including #InspirationalFiction and #ChristianBooks. Readers of these genres know to follow tweets which are gathered under these hashtags, and to parse them for new books they might be interested in. Instagram works the same way! Many readers, writers, and fans are already collecting Christian and Spiritual books and pinning them to their boards (see our links at the end of this piece for an example!), and this creates a uniquely sharable digital space for promotion. Don’t be afraid to experiment and find the platforms which work the best for you, and generate the most traffic!

TWO: Find those niche bookstores.

At this point, you’re probably already aware of the thriving Christian book industry, and Spiritual bookstores like Namaste in New York are also doing very well for themselves. Work on getting your book placed into these bookstores! Start with your local indie bookstores, both Spiritual (they often have “metaphysical” in their name!) and Christian … and don’t forget about your local church bookstores, which are often embedded with coffee shops in large church buildings. As with any indie bookstore, the worst the manager can say is “no,” but very often they’ll be excited to feature local talent. They will be much more open to give local authors shelf space, especially if you can pair your books with a book signing or reading event. Once you have your book in one store, encourage as many readers as possible to buy it from that store … and then, use those sales numbers as justification when contacting other bookstores to join your sales team.

THREE: Break out the press release!

Get the word out in the news! Send out a news release to Christian media outlets, not just the standard universal press release indices. The websites associated with pretty much every Christian or Spiritual newspaper, TV show, and radio program have links to where you can submit a release for your book. You can also send out news releases to other media that have Christian or Spiritual sections, even if the whole institution is not dedicated to faith-based material. If you feel a bit out to sea when it comes to writing and distributing press releases, don’t worry! Outskirts Press offers a fantastic and thorough press release service which will ensure news of your book reaches exactly the right ears.

FOUR: Craft original content for your blog.

Your author website is an oft-untapped opportunity to reach readers specifically interested in Spiritual and Christian topics. Readers with an interest in these subjects are already well-trained in locating and reading original content, and amongst these readers longform blog posts are a perennial favorite. Consider crafting original blog posts, reflective or faith-based or inspirational in tone, and posting these to your personal blog and author website. Don’t replicate the content of your book, but write materials which complement the content of your book, and whet readers’ appetites for more! Make sure to use keywords and enrich your metadata so that your audience will find your blog easily when searching on search engines like Google and Bing for Christian and Spiritual topics.

Still not sure where to start in marketing your book this Spring? Log into your Publishing Center to view all of the marketing services that Outskirts Press offers.

To see our staff picks of amazing Christian books from many of our authors, visit our Pinterest page by clicking here. We keep a separate Pinterest page for additional Spiritual books, which you can find here.

6 Ways to Make Your Library an Ally During National Library Month!

April is National Library Month! And let’s face it, if there’s one place we go to find out information about books, it’s our local public library. At a library, the act of browsing is elevated to an art form, and you can feel free to study the shelving arrangement, the genres, the popular nooks and crannies, the competition, and the various ways and means librarians “sell” their collections to the public … all without feeling guilty for not buying something! In fact, if you’re “caught” browsing in a library and the librarians find out you’re a local author, you’re likely to get hooked into giving a book reading as a way to promote both your book and the library’s services.

Libraries mean unlimited books and unlimited resources for free. And one of the best resources is the librarians themselves. Libraries and librarians are among some of the most powerful advocates a self-publishing author could hope for! Your local librarian can provide help with, yes, possibly setting up a book reading event to help you market your book, as well as finding answers to questions on how to have your book stocked in that library and much more.

What are some other ways you can promote your book by using the library?

  1. Donate a copy (or several copies) of your book to the library. Be sure to go through the proper donation channels.
  2. If your book is geared towards children, give a school library presentation on your book’s subject. School libraries are always looking for new books! Just make sure to reach out through the proper channels (i.e. through the principal and administration, as well as the librarian).
  3. Connect with librarians via social networks. Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn are powerful ways to network!
  4. Stock promotional materials such as flyers and letters at local libraries. Be sure to include of the essential information about your book such as subject, genre, audience and purchasing information. It’s best to ask if they’d be willing to stock these supplies on their “freebies” counter or in their brochure pocket wall first, just in case they need to check their policies.
  5. Ask a librarian to review your book in a local publication. This will bring positive attention to your book and encourage other locals to buy it! You might even be able to get a librarian to review it in your library’s state or regional newsletter, which would encourage other librarians to buy it.
  6. Reach out to your state and regional library association newsletters. If you’re willing to write a brief and submit a brief description of your book, some editors will include your book in their newsletters for free, and others will ask for a reasonable fee. Since librarians are active and invested allies, this makes for an efficient way of raising awareness among all of the libraries in your area. You can find contact information for most library association newspaper editors on each association’s website.

Libraries are a powerful part of your book promotion strategy. Creative marketing tactics can increase your chances of a library stocking your book, and can also lead to great relationships with librarians and readers. Not sure where to find your local library? Hop on www.publiclibraries.com and search by city, state, or zip code. You can also visit the American Library Association (ALA) website at www.ala.org, where you’ll find information on the current state of libraries and how you can get involved, both as a self-publishing author and a lover of books!

The best news is this: libraries are taking note of your interest. It’s not just a one-sided relationship! The Springfield-Greene County Libraries of Missouri, for example, had over 300 self-published titles in their collection by 2014, and were working to continue building their catalogue of these specific kinds of item because they recognize that there’s a serious demand for them. The bookstore is where you sell your books, and libraries are where you raise awareness about your books. Exposure at the library can help drive sales. Libraries have demonstrated they’re ready, eager, and waiting in the wings with a lot of innovative strategies to be your partners in promotion, and you can return the favor by celebrating your local public library during National Library Month!