A couple of weeks ago, one of our authors and newsletter subscribers emailed a request about marketing books to libraries. I think this is a very good topic as we always think of publicists as media promoters, but in a reality promoting has many faces and libraries as a target is one of them. I must say however, that this target is not for all books, so before I get into how to get your book in the library system we need to figure out if your book is library material.
- Genre. We must pay attention to the book’s genre. Although, library collections do include Fiction and Non-Fiction books, there might be some genres that are more desirable for their shelves than others, at any given time. So it is necessary to get into the shoes of a librarian by researching some of their archives and checking their inventories. The best way to market a specific genre could be by paying attention to the marketing calendars and organizing an event for a specific historic date, or other calendar happening that has to do with your book’s genre. It is customary to donate a couple of copies when having an event there. This is the best way in, as you get a one on one with a librarian who you can mention as reference when approaching any other libraries.
- Is your book library friendly? Libraries must organize their collections under the BISAC codes. These codes should be located on the top-left corner of the back cover. For example if your book is a YA Historical Fiction that has to do with a war, the top left corner of its back cover should have the following printed: JUVENILE FICTION/Historical/Military & Wars. I have noticed many Indie books do not show this coding on their books. I think that the lack of it might be extra work for the librarian, and this might be the basis of not taking in a book from an unknown author. For more information on BISAC coding go to: https://www.bisg.org/complete-bisac-subject-headings-2013-edition.
- Finally, before even knocking on library doors we must take into account how the current financial and economic situation has affected their purchasing processes. Libraries have also been affected by the current economy. Their budgets are smaller, and consequently the number and variety of books they purchases has shrunk. Having said that, it also brought a positive for all authors. As librarians have had to be more creative on how and where they buy books, purchases from online stores have become one of the ways they find books for their shelves. This is a small window, but a huge positive for unknown authors. As the Editor of our First Chapter Plus Catalog, which is sent to over 35,000 subscribers each month (libraries, book stores, bloggers, and readers), I know that this statement is true because the libraries that receive our e-catalog subscribed themselves to it, as we do not do cold calls. So why not try to reach them online? You could, but you must invest time into finding the right contact and their email address to do so.
There are many changes going on in the publishing world, the biggest one is how the readers get their books. The major one is online, so there is no surprise that even the libraries are surfing the internet, not only to get books on their shelves but also to provide them to readers of their community. Stay tuned for more ideas on how to promote your book to libraries on our next Newsletter. In the meantime check out our catalog: First Chapter Plus!