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. You can feel free to study the shelving arrangement, the genres, the popular nooks and crannies, the competition, and the many ways and means librarians “sell” their collections to the public . . . all without feeling guilty for not buying a thing! 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 the most powerful advocates a self-publishing author could hope for! Not only can your local librarian provide help with finding answers to questions on how to have your book stocked in that library, but the librarian can possibly help you set up a book reading event to aid you in marketing your book. And there is much more a librarian can do!
What are other ways you can promote your book by using the library?
- Donate a copy (or several copies) of your book to the library. Be sure to go through the proper donation channels.
- If your book is geared toward 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, administration, and the librarian).
- Connect with librarians via social networks. Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn are powerful ways to network!
- Stock promotional materials such as flyers and letters at local libraries. Include 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.
- 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 purchase it.
- Reach out to your state and regional library association newsletters. If you’re willing to write and submit a brief description of your book, some editors will include your book in their newsletters for free, while others might ask for a reasonable fee. Since librarians are active and invested allies, this makes for an efficient way of raising awareness among all the libraries in your area. In addition, 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 lead to excellent 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 book lover!
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. They have been working to continue building their catalog of these specific kinds of items 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 many innovative strategies to be your promotion partners. You can return the favor by celebrating your local public library during National Library Month!
If you’ve published your book with Outskirts Press, don’t forget the free book marketing resources that are provided within your Author Center account. If you need help with book marketing, browse the services that we offer below.