Monday, November 23, 2009

Dana Lynn Smith on How to Sell Your Book to Libraries

By Dana Lynn Smith

Libraries are a huge market, with America's 123,000 libraries purchasing nearly $2 billion worth of books annually, according to statistics from the American Library Association and the Book Industry Study Group. Here are some ways to tap into this important market:

• Get your book reviewed in a library journal.
• Solicit testimonials from librarians.
• Make sure your book is available through at least one major book wholesaler, such as Baker & Taylor or Ingram.
• Apply to work with a library distributor such as Quality Books or Unique Books, if you have a nonfiction book.
• Contact libraries in your area to inquire about speaking opportunities and special programs for local authors, and contact libraries in towns you visit.
• Send direct mail to libraries, either on your own or through co-operative mailings. Address mail to the Collection Development Librarian for your subject area, and include a flyer with book details and a list of wholesalers and distributors that carry your book.
• Contact libraries in your area and in cities you visit, to let them know in advance about speaking events and radio or TV shows that will generate local interest in your book.
• Consider donating a sample copy of your book to a few top library systems, to encourage purchases for branch libraries.
• Exhibit at library tradeshows through co-operative exhibit programs such as those offered through the Independent Book Publishers Association and other organizations.

Nonfiction books are especially well suited to library sales. In addition to public libraries, your book may be a good fit for university libraries, or specialized libraries that focus on specific topics such as religion, medicine or history.
Fiction is best suited to public libraries. To sell fiction, it's helpful to have reviews in journals, book awards, or a strong local tie-in, such as a novel being set in the region.

Dana Lynn Smith is a book marketing coach and the author of several book marketing resources. Get free book marketing tips at her Book Marketing Maven blog. For more in-depth information about selling to libraries, along with contact information for top library systems and wholesalers, see The Savvy Book Marketer's Guide to Selling Your Book to Libraries.


Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of This Is the Place; Harkening: A Collection of Stories Remembered; Tracings, a chapbook of poetry; and two how to books for writers, The Frugal Book Promoter: How To Do What Your Publisher Won't and The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success. Her FRUGAL book for retailers is A Retailer’s Guide to Frugal In-Store Promotions: How To Increase Profits and Spit in the Eyes of Economic Downturns with Thrifty Events and Sales Techniques. She is also the author of the Amazon Short, "The Great First Impression Book Proposal". Some of her other blogs are, a blog where authors can recycle their favorite reviews. She also blogs at all things editing, grammar, formatting and more at The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor blog.

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