Remember Your Library

Rachel Kent

Blogger: Rachel Kent

A client of mine emailed me to update me on her marketing efforts for a new book. She’d never done much marketing to libraries, but decided to try out Library Insider ( Library Insider is a purchasable online database of library contact information. My client purchased the information for libraries in her state and sent postcards out with information about her and her book. She’s already seeing results and the book hasn’t even released! She’s been contacted by two different libraries that are asking her to come speak. Isn’t that awesome?! Not only are those postcards publicizing her book, but she is going to get to go to the libraries to meet with and talk to readers.

We’re always looking for readers and libraries are FULL of them. 

Libraries may only purchase a few copies of your book at a time, but the more times your book is checked out the more copies they buy. If a library purchases 3 copies and then you go to the library to give a talk and everyone puts your book on their to-be-read list, the library will likely purchase more books to meet the demand. And most libraries are pretty good about replacing books when they’re getting damaged through the standard wear and tear of being read.

It may seem strange to encourage people to check out your book rather than buy it, but in general libraries make a huge contribution to sales numbers for titles. This must be the case because publishers take the time to participate in the American Library Association conventions that are hosted twice a year.

I encourage you to check out Library Insider if you haven’t yet. The website is beautiful and it’s a worthwhile marketing investment in my opinion.

How do you feel about libraries?

16 Responses

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  1. Our local libraries all have display cases with changing displays. Sometimes those displays feature a local author–a copy of the book, related photos and memorabilia. Makes sense that the library would have other copies of the book.
    *True confession–sometimes I picture my book in the display case and breathe, “Wouldn’t that be something?”

  2. OK, now that I’ve got the first scene of the original ‘Ghostbusters’ firmly in my head…along with the theme song…
    * The library where I grew up was a wonderfully cavernous and dingy place, with a central hall and all sorts of hidden ‘special collection’ rooms, reached by meandering narrow hallways…and some of the hallways never went the same place twice. People could and did get lost, and the place really was said to be haunted. They never withdrew ANYTHING from circulation, and it had that wonderful old-book smell.
    * Then they went and remodeled it into a brighty airy ‘meeting space’ that resembled the lobby of the Mayo CLinic in Scottsdale, and got rid of about half their books. The positive side was that you could actually find the periodicals section, the microfiche readers worked, and they added a mezzanine level from which kids could throw paper aeroplanes.

    • Carol Ashby says:

      I LOVED the library in the town where I was born. The children’s section was in the basement, and the smell…There is NOTHING better than the smell of old books. When I went back to visit as an adult, the library building had become the town visitor center. I didn’t see the new library, but no way could it be better than the old Carnegie library of my early childhood!
      Thanks for making me remember, Andrew.

      • Carol, the children’s section in my ‘original’ library was very special. It had a nautical theme, and was nicknamed the ‘ship library’. There were a couple of cased museum-quality models of sailing ships, a real engine-room telegraph, and all sorts of other odds and ends.
        * When the place was renovated, the models were moved to public areas, and the rest of the themed collection was dispersed. The children’s library became another Sesame-Street-milieu’d place of bright colours and goofy pictures, and I think the kids lost something valuable. They had been given part of the adult world in which to make themselves at home, and what they got as a replacement was a sort of condescending disrespect.

  3. My kids and I have been frequenting our library this summer. Our local branch is WONDERFUL. The children’s area is welcoming and bright and not goo-goo-gumdrop world. The librarians are kind and always more than happy to help. I, too, have daydreamed of see my book displayed there and giving talks, etc.

  4. My wife and frequently use our local library. We are there several times each week. Not only does it keep us away from the brain-suck of television, it gives us an excellent excuse for a bike ride or a walk!

  5. One of the things that made me feel I was a “real writer” was seeing my name on my local library index. It felt incredibly validating. Nebraska libraries have been wonderfully supportive of my writing life. I’m very grateful for them.

  6. Karen Cioffi says:

    I’ve heard of Library Insider years ago and never took advantage of it. It’s now on my to-do list. Thanks for reminding me!

  7. Thank you for this, Rachel. I’d not heard of this. I’m going to see what the database costs. But that plus the cost of stamps seems like a great way to gain more exposure … speaking engagements. That’s great.

  8. Judy Gann says:

    Of all days to be away from my home office! I’m Judy Gann, the librarian for Library Insider. Thanks for the mention, Rachel, and for encouraging authors to include libraries in their marketing plan.

    If you have questions about Library Insider, please contact me at [email protected] or [email protected].

  9. Mary Kay Moody says:

    Thanks for this, Rachel. Contacting libraries has been on my to-do list once my book is in the publishing chain. But I hadn’t heard of Library Insider as a purchasable database. One county library nearby has an annual event around local authors. Another great opportunity.

  10. This is a great idea, Rachel. I love my local library and many times will try an author out through the library and then purchase their ebook to enjoy forever.

  11. The library in the town where I grew up had originally been a bar and the children’s section was behind what had been the bar, though bookshelves covered most of it. I had bad asthma and couldn’t climb the hill to my house so I hung out there every day after school until my mother picked me up on her way home from work.

    A few years ago where I live now there was talk of privatizing the county library system. The entire county came out in full force and our public libraries were saved!

  12. Jenny Leo says:

    My local library does a great job of supporting and publicizing local authors. I also like that when someone asks where they can get my book, I can say “it’s at the public library” along with stores that carry it, for those on a budget. I’ve also used Library Insider to contact libraries in my state and also in the state where the book is set, with good results. Libraries can be a wonderful resource.

  13. Zan Marie says:

    My local library is a Regional hub and it is very open to local writers. The Library Insider database sounds fabulous. Great post, Rachel!