In my experience, libraries can help sell books. Every author’s marketing plan needs to include libraries.
Why libraries help sell books
We’ve been hypnotized by the power of social media to get the word out about our books. It is, indeed, a powerful tool. But if your dream is to make a living with your books then local library branches are invaluable.
They’re packed with voracious readers.
They’re taste makers.
They’re (ugh, here comes the word) gatekeepers. BUT they’re gatekeepers to your neighbors (many of whom would be delighted to find out that you write books!)
Bottom line: If you can get your book or eBook into the local libraries then you have a foot in the door to build your local reputation.
How big an impact can libraries have on sales?
That depends on the library, the size of your community and how much work you’re willing to put in.
Have you ever heard of the “Tribe of 1000”? It’s the premise that 1000 fans can sustain your career as an artist. I think it’s a solid philosophy as long as you can release at least two books per year to a big enough audience.
In my experience writing MGLit, the easiest way to get a fan is to write a great book that’s read by someone in the community. It’s just human nature. Here in western Massachusetts there are a number of authors who can depend on hundreds to buy their books at local bookstores, fairs and straight from the author (signed, of course).
1000 neighbors whose kids go to your kids’ schools, shop in the same places and go to the same events. We all know how fun it is to say that we know the local celebrity, right?
That local celebrity could be you.
With a library’s help, the chore definitely gets easier. Not easy, easier.
How do I approach a library with my book?
I’m going to leave the answer to that question for these excellent posts. Each post is current and takes into account current dynamics. You may be especially interested in the American Library Association’s post, Marketing to Libraries. No-nonsense stuff.
Some other good tactics:
- Connect with your local libraries on social media and engage
- Rent a library’s mailing list for affordable rates
- Donate a little time to your libraries
Libraries Gone Digital: 4 Ways Libraries Expand Your Reach As An Author
In Your Corner: Libraries, the book-lover’s paradise
5 Reasons Why Selling to Libraries Needs to be a Top Priority
Marketing to Libraries