Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Promoting to Libraries

Please welcome guest blogger Elizabeth Spann Craig

ElizabethSpannCraig Getting your book onto library shelves means you’re reaching a wider audience of readers. If you’re a series writer or hope to publish more than just one book, then you’re developing a readership.  In these tough times, getting your book into a reader’s hands frequently means getting it into the library.


Here are my thoughts and tips on library marketing:

Find out which libraries have your book.  Go to, which searches libraries for content worldwide.  You just plug in your book’s name, hit the search button, and find the results.  My new book is currently listed in 84 libraries.  After your marketing efforts, go back to WorldCat to find out if your work was successful.

For a listing of public libraries, go to Public You’ll get physical addresses, phone numbers, and websites (from which you can get the library’s email address).

There’s a debate among authors as to whether old-fashioned mailings or emailed marketing work best for bookstores and libraries.  One side says that emails are too easy to ignore or delete.  The other side says that mailings are expensive and just as easy to discard.  I think either method increases our exposure.

Whatever method you use, be sure to target the acquisitions librarian.  Your email or postcard should include a cover photo, ISBN number, title of the book, publisher’s name, your name, release date, short summary, and any good review snippets (many libraries may be familiar only with your Library Journal review.)  Some authors suggest that you should also include a link to a discount bookseller because some publishers don’t give libraries discounts.

Ask friends and family in other counties or states to request their library purchase a copy of your book. This can usually be done online in most library systems.

Befriend libraries on Twitter: lists libraries that tweet. Wonder if it helps? My motto is that it can’t hurt—unless you use Twitter to spam, which is a big no-no. They may not choose to follow you back, but most libraries will.

Have bookmarks of your book printed for your local library or to include with any mailings you make.  Libraries can put these bookmarks on their check-out counter for their patrons.  This increases exposure for your book among readers.

Unfortunately, libraries are victims of the downturned economy like so many other institutions.  But they are still acquiring materials. With a little work on our part, our own novels can sit on their shelves and reach a new audience of readers. 



Elizabeth Spann Craig’s mystery, Pretty Is As Pretty Dies, was released this week from Midnight Ink. She blogs at Mystery Writing Is Murder and at InkSpot. Visit for more information.



Craig Hart said...

These are great tips! I'm a HUGE proponent of libraries. And not just because I work at one and love my job.

I know that, generally, each library translates directly into only one sale, but the exposure to the general reading public is effective and wide-reaching.

Terry Odell said...

Great tips - I've done most of them for my Five Star book, with lukewarm results. Without those "Big Four" reviews, it's an uphill battle. And they don't even have to be good reviews.

However, I still can't bring myself to Twitter. Facebook is enough social networking time. And maybe that has something to do with it. Why do these people have every single tweet fed to their Facebook page? I finally had to create separate filters because 50 updates a day from these people was a total turnoff. Why do I care what A is tweeting to B?

Love the verification word: unfooly. Is that a new synonym for 'honest'?

Jacqueline Seewald said...

Hi, Elizabeth,

Excellent advice! Good luck with your new novel. It sounds like a great read.

Definitely encourage friends and relatives to request your novel at their libraries. Acquisition librarians pay attention to library patrons as well as reviewers.

Jacqueline Seewald
THE DROWNING POOL, Five Star/Gale 2009
THE INFERNO COLLECTION, Five Star hardcover, Wheeler large print 2008

Galen Kindley--Author said...

Wonderful post, Elizabeth. Clear, succinct information complete with links and how to. Never knew about either of the links, so, their inclusion is much appreciated. Great work.

Best Regards, Galen
Imagineering Fiction Blog

Helen Ginger said...

Great post with really good tips. And thanks for the links. That makes it easy to check them out.

Straight From Hel

Jane Kennedy Sutton said...

Thanks for the tips. I now know how I am going to be spending the rest of my day!

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

Jack--Oh good...I was worried what librarians and other library industry professionals would think about my advice. Thanks for the thumbs up!

Terry--I'm with you on the FB/Twitter thing. You can always block their feeds, but it's such a pain.

Jacqueline--Good point. The patrons' interest in a book can really make a difference.

Galen--Thanks, Galen!

Helen--You're so welcome.

Jane--Good luck with it!

Alan Orloff said...


Thanks so much for guest blogging today. Those are some great tips and links--I'm going to be sure to put them in my marketing "arsenal." Good luck with Pretty Is As Pretty Dies. I can't wait to read it!

Thanks also to all the commenters/readers who found their way over from Elizabeth's blog. Always nice to have visitors!

Patricia Stoltey said...

Thanks to Elizabeth for that link to libraries on Twitter. I'd never thought about that, but since my publisher is a supplier to libraries, the extra contact can't hurt.

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

Alan--Thanks so much for hosting me!

Patricia--You're so welcome. You never may mean some extra sales. Good luck.

Gutsy Living said...

I write and volunteer with autthor events at a large library in California. Hope this will help when my book is published.