Promote Your Book at the Library

Sunday, January 14, 2024
My last office job was just around the corner from my local library. It was heaven! I would stroll down on my lunch hour and never missed a used book sale, speaker or after work event. My frequent visits taught me a few things that could help an author promoting their book.

Libraries Like to Say Yes
Chances are, if you are a free speaker, you will probably be welcomed to the library. You can propose a book reading, a talk about writing or a presentation on something related to your book. Offer several options. Maybe they’ll want multiple events! 

Help with publicity. Provide a media kit with the basics about your book as well as templates for flyers, social media posts and press releases for the local media. Make it simple for the library to promote your event.

Yes, the people who come to the library are book lovers. But are they book buyers? Increase your sales by reaching beyond the library patrons and beyond your social media community. Visit local offices, organizations, restaurants and shops near the library and with an event flyer for them to display. 

Libraries Like Fundraisers
Libraries seem to have ever increasing budgets and ever decreasing incomes. So, fundraising activities are a constant with libraries, especially small town locations.  They also introduce the library and all its services to people who aren’t regular library patrons. Library fundraising isn’t just used book sales. In the past year, my library has had a wide variety of fundraisers including Plant and Sip (plant a succulent and drink/learn about local wines), Tarot Readings, Mini Golf in the Library and Murder Mystery Dinner Theater.

Can you create an event that people will want to attend AND promotes your book? Think beyond writing workshops that limit you to budding writers – and are normally free. If you host something fun to do but related to your book, everyone wins. Attendees have fun. The library receives activity fees. You introduce your book to a new audience. 

Nonfiction books are naturals for classes if you can connect a craft, new skill or game to your books. Novels can have fun events too. Is one of your characters a baker? Bring sugar cookies and teach a class on cookie decorating. Does it happen in Arizona? Plant cacti gardens. Do your characters attend weekly yoga classes? Yoga in the stacks!

Libraries Like a Sure Thing
Creating a fundraising event for the library may seem like a lot of work but it doesn’t have to be a one-time event. At my local library many successful events are held annually. Some are held even more frequently with a seasonal twist. Plant and Sip was held for Valentine’s Day, Halloween (Potions and Plants), Mother’s Day and Summer. So come up with a winner and you could be invited for an encore performance. You can also extend your reach by having an adults-only version and a family/kid version. We’ve had events so popular they sold out in the first week, encouraging the library to add additional dates.

Libraries Like a Big Event
Worried not enough people will visit the library if your book is the only draw? Check their past events for group events. My library holds a Metaphysical Market featuring vendors with crystals, aromatherapy, candles, books and more. No group events that fit your book? Suggest one. Could you convince local authors to attend a Meet the Authors event? What about local artisans, authors and food retailers for a special event like Small Business Saturday or Christmas in July? Bring your idea and a list of possible participants to your local library. They can charge a small table fee and all the participants will benefit from a larger crowd. There’s power in numbers.

No matter what event you plan at the library don’t forget to take time to network. The people attending could be looking for a speaker for their book clubs, service organizations or social groups. An artisan I know taught a paper star class at her local library. She was hired by one of the attendees to teach a private paper star class to her employees as a holiday bonus. You never know what will happen at a library event!

Have you planned any events at your local library? 


Angela Mackintosh said...

These are such incredibly creative ideas, Jodi! Since I moved to the forest, I haven't yet explored my local library, but I've been wanting to host an art event, and you gave me a great idea. It would be a win-win if I could hold it at the library and raise funds for them as well. Thank you! :)

Christiana Smith said...

Jodi thanks for all of your great ideas! I am totally inspired to get out there and hit up some libraries TODAY!

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