Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Libraries are your friends!

Hey there fellow authors and aspiring writers!

One thing I have seen little of (actually, almost nothing of) around the blogosphere is the topic of libraries.

As an author, I love libraries!

Now, writers out there may be saying: "But wait, why do you love libraries? People borrow your book for free. Wouldn't you prefer that people bought it rather than borrowed it? Don't you miss out on all those royalties?"

Hopefully lots of people borrow it!

Libraries are good to authors in three specific ways:

1. They usually promote new books, new authors, new titles. They often have newsletters offering blurbs on recent acquisitions. They frequently set up display tables with "new" books or "this just in," or they will sometimes set up a table by "Canadian authors" or other themes.

Unless you have a BIG budget, it would be next to impossible to get that kind of prominent display and/or publicity from the big chain bookstores.

Your book can and will get noticed because of any of these types of library promotion. For example, the Toronto library system ordered 14 copies of "Blood and Groom" and there are 33 holds placed already on returning copies. The Ottawa library system has ordered 7 copies of my book, as as of this morning, there are 24 holds placed on returning copies.

2. Okay, so you're not making huge royalties from each borrower, but the library users can spread word of mouth. People may notice them reading your book on the bus, or may see them reading your book during the lunch break. They may tell a couple of friends (or,hopefully many friends) about it ... and maybe some of those people will go out and buy a copy... When you're a new author, your main concern should be on getting an audience, building a readership, generating a buzz...

3. Libraries LOVE events: author meet & greet, readings, panel discussions, etc. Authors are generally welcome to bring books for sale and signing at such events. So, again, there's potential for word or mouth; there is an opportunity to build your audience; you might sell some books, and... I can't see any disadvantages.

As a new author, I am getting mixed responses from bookstores about having events. Some welcome the idea, but would prefer to wait until I have a second book out; some are more interested in having events with 2 or 3 authors. I can understand all this; it makes perfect sense as they're in business to sell books, and new authors might not be much of a "draw"... yet!

So, for now, I will keep plugging away at both, but I fully intend to spend just as much time promoting at libraries as I do with retailers.

Cheers and Merry Christmas!

Jill (and Sasha)


  1. Very good points, Jill. Libraries seem to be in the business, not of selling books, but of getting people to read books. You can't beat that!

    Merry Christmas to you and Sasha!

    Straight From Hel

  2. Great info...

    thx for the time and effort.

  3. I think that it is a good idea, because if I like a library book enough, I will buy it