Calling themselves “Terriers of the Information World,” the panel consisted of four amazing librarians—Monique Flasch, Susan Gibberman, Marlene Leonardi and Patricia Ruocco.
With over 17,000 libraries in the USA, libraries wield tremendous power. When a library buys a book it is stamped and cannot be returned. Although print is still the predominant market in a library, Kindles and other e-reader devices are becoming more and more available and in demand. Each device holds a specific genre e.g. “the romance device” or the “mystery device.”
Librarians have to consider cost when purchasing a book. They don't get a discount! Each library has a different budget and patron requests to consider. Residency is always an advantage since some librarians automatically buy books written by their local authors. And of course, author visits are always popular. Let libraries know you are happy to come in and talk. Be an expert on something you can tie in with your book since libraries will often buy the book of the visiting author.
Librarians select their books as follows:
- Reviews in professional journals like Booklist, Library Journal, Kirkus Reviews and Publishers Weekly. Surprisingly enough, librarians focus more on the synopsis rather than the number of stars. They know their patrons and they know what their patrons read.
- Local and/or national newspaper reviews.
- Genre-specific publications (e.g. Mystery Scene, RT Book Club)
- Genre websites.
How can authors become more “attractive” to librarians?
- Join organizations like Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers of America.
- Keep websites current—they DO visit author websites. They like the idea of a ready-made mailing list. They love a highly visible link to your book lists in series order. Make this list (if possible) a printable list.
- Note prominently if your books are available in Large Print, Audio books and Kindle or download-compatible.
- If you get a stellar review—put it up on your website. Again, make it visible.
Librarians go to conferences, bookstore signings and book fairs—Printers’ Row is a favorite—so look out for them and introduce yourselves. Librarians love authors! They want to meet you!
Visit your local library but make sure you ask for the right person who handles your genre. When donating your books, again, ask for the right person—don’t just leave them at the desk where they are most likely to end up in the dumpster. If you are local–tell them.
Remember, librarians receive a ton of solicitations to purchase titles so be respectful. If emailing them … remember to have a link to your website in your signature line and always put in your library card number!
Check back on February 27 for part two of this post which will deal with keeping your book on the shelf and not in the dumpster!