Marketing: Don't Forget Your Public Library

Monday, August 17, 2015
My friend, Camille Faye, author of Voodoo Butterfly, and I were having a discussion about some marketing events she has coming up in the fall. She mentioned how she had been featured in a couple of small-town community newspapers, and because of one story, a local library had called her and asked her to have a book signing at their branch.

This past spring, a librarian at a smaller library a few hours away contacted me and asked if I would consider Skyping in and presenting a program. They had received a grant and were looking for a young adult author to present. I was happy to do this, of course!

Recently, I received the annual e-mail from a library branch near where I live that hosts a local author open house, each year in November, to give readers a chance to start their Christmas shopping early and authors to have a chance to connect with readers without paying any cost to participate.

Libraries are wonderful—of course, we all know that. Since we are writers, most of us probably have a longtime relationship with the library, remembering fond times from our childhood, checking out stacks of our favorite books for free, devouring them in record time, and begging our parents to take us back for more.

Don’t forget the libraries now that you are a published author. Most libraries want to do events with local authors—you may not get paid to speak or you may if they have a budget, a grant, or a library foundation with money to pay speakers. But it is at least a free place to sell and sign books and hopefully gain some new readers.

Many published libraries have a request system—where interested readers can ask the library to purchase certain books. If your library has this, ask someone who loves your book to request it and get it on your librarians’ radar. Some libraries also have special local author sections. This means, your book is in circulation with everyone else’s, and people can check these out of the library. How cool is that!

Libraries have many community events—craft fairs, reading nights, game nights, etc, and if you can fit your book into their programming, then call and explain how. Sign up for the event e-mail list, find out what’s going on, and get involved if possible.

Finally, many libraries have book clubs. Contact the librarians (are you tired of me saying this yet?) and ask if they would consider reading your book. Be prepared to explain why your novel would create a good discussion and maybe provide some questions to consider. Also offer to come to the club or to Skype in. If the library or the reading group members are willing to buy your book, you can add this appearance as a bonus and get to hear firsthand what readers think of your book!

Libraries are still there inviting readers in and authors, too. Don’t get overwhelmed with all these ideas—pick one and go for it!

Margo L. Dill is a children’s author and WOW! online classroom instructor. Find out more on her website at or in the WOW! classroom,


Judy H said...

Working part-time at our local library, while we can't pay authors, we do have agreements with local newspaper and radio to advertise. So authors get their name out via these avenues also. I am finding locals will really support a local author if they know about them.

Sioux Roslawski said...

Margo--Authors need to help out libraries just as much as libraries need to help out authors.

I hope I see you at that "library event."

Margo Dill said...

I should have mentioned to that donating a book or anything also helps the library!

Thanks, Judy, for letting us know that.

Sioux, hopefully!

Margo Dill said...

Too (Sorry for typo. I'll blame autocorrect!)

Margo Dill said...

Too (Sorry for typo. I'll blame autocorrect!)

Unknown said...

Thanks for the shout-out, Margo! Marketing can be overwhelming for new authors, at times, but reach out to the community because many people are willing to help :)

Cathy C. Hall said...

I've had a love affair with libraries for years (Shhh! Don't tell Mr. Man!)

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