English: Jordan Sonnenblick doing a book-signi...

English: Jordan Sonnenblick doing a book-signing at the Eldersburg Library in Eldersburg, MD. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I think it might be true to say that for most of us our desire to become writers grew out of our love for reading. And that love for reading grew out of our visits to the library. For many of us, those book-lined buildings were like a second home. Now as authors, we still treasure our local libraries and visit them often (I hope) either to satisfy our hunger for good quality reading material, or to do research. But did you know that your local library holds other benefits to you as an author?

 
Below are some ways we can benefit from our library:

 

1. Submit your book. As an author, one of the best ways to gain exposure is to have your book included in the library system. Unfortunately, it’s difficult for indie authors to get in because of the overwhelming number of indie titles being churned out in the US alone every year. But now there is hope. If you have written an ebook for which you hold the rights, you can submit it to SELF-e, a library curation process open to ebooks written in the English language. Your book has to undergo a vetting process by the Library Journal’s evaluators, and if selected, it will be made available to librarians nationwide. You can get more information  here

 

2. Hold a book signing or library reading. If you have a print version of your book, holding a book signing or library reading is a great way to get the word out. After I self-published my book Women For All Seasons, I plucked up my courage and approached my local library to do a book signing. To my surprise, the librarian was very pleasant and helpful. She gave me all the information I needed and even made a large poster for me with my photo and the title of my book and placed it at the library entrance on the day of the event. I felt like I was a famous author. Read about it here.

 

3. Participate in group discussions. Writers’ groups, book clubs and other community groups hold regular meetings in the library. Getting involved in these events not only helps you get known, but it may help you establish valuable contacts. Readers also love to see the face behind the wonderful book you have written.

 

4. The ideal environment. Above my desk, I have rows of bookshelves. Whenever I look up from my computer screen, I see books, and even though I’ve had most of them for a long time, they still inspire me and help to keep me anchored. If you are not blessed with the right environment for writing, what better place to go than your library? It’s usually quieter than a coffee shop or bookstore and has all the books you may need for research right at hand.

 

5. Donate your print book. In #1 I stated that it’s difficult for indie authors to get their books in the library. Difficult, but not impossible. Marlene Harris, a librarian with 15 years experience, advises that you call or email the person in charge of Collection Development or Acquisitions. He/she may request two copies, but Marlene warns there are always exceptions – textbooks, fill-in-the-blanks books and books with spiral or comb bindings may not make the cut. You can also check to see if your library’s website has a blog. They may be happy to help you promote your book there. But, say Marlene and a librarian I spoke to, the best way to get your book noticed by libraries is to have it reviewed by a reputable reviewer like Library Journal, Publishers Weekly, Kirkus and others. Get more information here.

 
So, the next time you visit that revered building to return or check out books, look at it with a new pair of eyes. Think of ways you can use your library to promote yourself and your writing. Best of all, make friends with your librarian. Let them know you are a local author and what you write. You never know what unexpected benefits may come your way.

 

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