Previously I spoke a little about what makes a book library marketable. Today I would like to continue with a discussion on how to market your book to libraries. For the sake of argument I will assume that our books are now following library guidelines, and are a genre that is of interest to all libraries. However, please remember that some research needs to be done to determine if the topic of your book is something libraries will be interested in for their collection.
Following are some steps I follow when marketing to Libraries:
1) Categorize your target. When we speak of libraries we automatically think of public libraries such as the community ones or school district ones. However, there are numerous libraries we can target such as the libraries within different churches, private schools, home schooling organizations, universities, technical institutions, hospitals, non-profit organizations, foundations, etc. Each category will have a different need and purchasing process.
2) Research each category you believe your book might be marketable to, and focus on those specific categories.
3) Begin researching contact information by region. I always start with the local ones to establish a relationship face to face so that I can use this relationship as a reference when targeting a different region. For example, my book had to do with WWII in Italy, so when it came to targeting libraries, I went to veteran organizations, Italian cultural centers, WWII museums, military bases, etc. to find libraries. On some occasions I donated a couple of copies and used the fact that they had them on their shelves as reference when pitching my book to another library.
4) There are many ways to get the contact information. You can search utilizing Google per region, and call on the phone to get a contact name and email address of the person in charge of purchasing. Another way is marketing lists. I am not a fan of purchasing marketing lists but, there are certain ones that are somewhat ethical, for example, the ALA Mail List Rental. I don’t have a problem with lists like this one because they are created and retained by the American Library Association. Obtaining mailing lists from organizations such as this one is ethical, because the list is being shared with its members’ knowledge, but I really discourage purchasing mailing lists in which information is sold over and over without the knowledge of the contacts featured within the list.
5) Once you have your target and have created a marketing data base you need to make a decision on whether to market through email or regular mail. Make no mistake, you need to invest in and produce a marketing/media kit that will cater to librarian interests and needs, and it must be created in a professional, attractive and easy to read format. The question is whether to spend the amount of money to print this kit, or not.
6) If you decide to print and mail remember to send a sample of your book. You can do that by sending one book or an e-book on a CD, either way you can mail it as Media Mail. If you decide to email your kit to your target, remember that most firewalls will not allow attachments, so the best way is to upload the kit somewhere and include the link in your cover letter which you can copy paste on the body of the email.
I hope this helps. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you need help creating your marketing kit and/or distribution. We quote per customer as each title and author have their own characteristics!