Author Smarts … How to Sell to Libraries

          This week celebrates National Library Week. For authors, libraries can be your best friend. With over 100,000 throughout the country, their budgets still purchase approximately $2,000,000,000 in books each year—two billion dollars! That’s what the American Library Association and the Book Industry Study Group report.


So … the question is … are you getting your share?

  • Befriend your local library and librarian. Let them know about your book.
  • Offer to do a program—especially if you are a children’s author. Many libraries have author programs and are enthusiastic in working and featuring authors—stick your neck out. And if you get invited, make sure you encourage others to come. Bodies count!
  • Ask for testimonials and endorsements.
  • Make sure you share reviews and any media clippings with your librarian … the one you befriended!
  • Donate a book to the library—it just may be the thing that generates a purchase order.
  • Encourage your followers to contact their libraries to request your book and tell them tell their friends to check it out as well as them.
  • Librarians pay attention to reviews. The Library Journal is a key one—usually requires a four month lead before official publication date.
  • The read the Library Journal thoroughly—depending on your marketing budget, you might want to consider an ad in one.
  • Libraries buy from distributors—key ones are Quality Books, Unique Books and Baker & Taylor. Make sure you have representation with at least one of them.
  • Make sure you have a media release/flyer about your book (include a cover picture on it. Include the price of the book and your ISBN as well as who distributes your book. Send it directly to libraries or participate in a coop mailing, such as the one that IBPA does to both academic and public libraries each year.
  • Get online and/or make phone calls and determine who the Collection Development Librarian is (make sure you spell the name correctly. Send them your flyer.
  • Consider making a collage of reviews that you received and creating a flyer as an attached to anything that you send out.
  • If you have the opportunity to attend of exhibit at a Library trade show, do it. There may be a signing you participate in (that means you give books away (make sure there is a flyer in each for additional ordering information).
  • If your book has won any awards, make sure you include them within your flyer. If the honor comes to you and your book after your initial contact, it becomes an excellent opportunity to follow up.
  • Don’t forget to let your librarian know that you have an ebook or an audio book.
    When libraries order a book, they pay for it promptly. It good thing for the author.

Yes, celebrate your library … it, they, do lots for you and your book … not to mention the community.

(C) 2013 JudithBriles, The Book Shepherd

JB_headshot Judith Briles is known as The Book Shepherd (, an author and book publishing expert and the Founder of Author U (, a membership organization created for the author who wants to be seriously successful. She’s been writing about and conducting workshops on publishing since the 80s. Judith is the author of 30 books including her latest, Author YOU: Creating and Building Your Author and Book Platforms. Join Judith live on Thursdays at 6 p.m. EST for Your Guide to Book publishing on the Follow @AuthorU and @MyBookShepherd on Twitter and do a “Like” at AuthorU and TheBookShepherd on Facebook.  If you want to create a book that has no regrets, contact her at