How to Get Your Books Into the Public Library by Natalie Giauque

February 26, 2013 · 3 comments

in Business of Writing, Guest Posts, Promotion

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Note: Natalie works for the Salt Lake County Library system and is speaking specifically to that. However, many of her tips will apply to any library system.

Have you ever wondered how to get your books into the Salt Lake County Library system?

Here is all of the information you’ll need, and a few helpful tips.

A little bit about me and what I do:

I’m Natalie and I’m the LDS fiction buyer for the Salt Lake County Library System. The SLCLS system consists of 18 branches across the Salt Lake valley, and I buy books for all of the branches. My job is to buy as much LDS fiction as I can, while keeping within my budget constraints.

Each month I order new titles from Deseret Book, Cedar Fort, Covenant, Brigham Distributing and Walnut Springs Press. So if your book is being distributed through these channels, I’m going to see it and I’m going to purchase it. For those of you who publish independently, things get a bit tricky. There are two websites that I use to find new books, LDS Publisher and LDS Women’s Book Review.  I’ll see a new title coming out, I do a little research and then purchase the title if I feel it will be of interest to my patrons. I have limited funds, so I have to be a bit selective. If you are an author I’m familiar with, I’ll buy more copies. New authors, I’ll pick up a few copies and monitor demand.

Here are some important points if you want me to see and purchase your books:

  • Make sure you have some sort of web presence. Promote your book! This isn’t a time to be modest. With any new author, the first thing I do is Google you. If I can’t find a blog, web page, or a Facebook page, I’m going to think you aren’t interested in promoting your book. If you aren’t interested in your book, why should I be? I can’t tell you how many books I’ve passed by because I couldn’t find any information about the author. Out of date blog? Forget about it. Promote! Promote! Promote!
  • Make sure that you have the title of your book on your webpage, the price, the ISBN, and where I can purchase your book. Make sure all of your links are current! This is really important. If I have to hunt for an ISBN or a price and it takes me too long, I’ll pass on your book. Make it easy for me. I purchase books through Seagull book and through Amazon, so if you get your books into those two vendors, I can buy them.
  • Understand that purchasing books, getting them cataloged and out to patrons takes time. It can take about three months from the time I make a purchase to the time the book is circulating. So please don’t send in purchase requests if you don’t see your book in the library catalog right away. If your book has been out for a few months and it isn’t in the catalog, go ahead and send in a purchase request, as I may have missed your book.
  • Once your book is in the library system, make sure your fans know this. If your books don’t circulate well, they may end up being deleted and when you publish your next book, I won’t buy as many copies, if I buy any.
  • I discourage authors from sending books to me for the library system. If the books don’t get to me, they will end up going for book sale. I prefer that you promote your book where I can find it and I’ll purchase it through my vendors.
  • What about e-books? Many authors are now publishing in this format exclusively. The library system uses OverDrive as an e-book vendor. If you publish independently and want to get your books into our catalog, you need to publish your book through Authorsolutions (www.authorsolutions.com) or Smashwords (www.smashwords.com). Make sure you choose OverDrive as a distribution channel. We’d love to have you in our e-catalog. OverDrive is working with other publishers to get more LDS e-books into our catalog as well.

Questions? Leave a comment and I’ll do my best to answer your questions.

Natalie

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{ 3 comments }

Mikey Brooks February 26, 2013 at 8:27 am

This is a great post Natalie! I have tried forces and have had fans for months try and place my books in our local library in Murray. So far nothing has happened and it discourages me and friends who want to read the books to their kids but can’t afford to buy them all. What other ways are there besides patron requests are there? The librarian over the children’s section was excited about my books until she learned I indie published them. Is there a stigma against indie authors in the library system?

Natalie February 26, 2013 at 10:45 am

Great question-the Murray library is a stand alone library, meaning it is the only branch in the system, so they may have different purchasing guidelines. Indie publishers can be a bit more tricky to work with, since they often aren’t carried through regular distribution channels. If your books aren’t carrried through a vendor the library has access to, it can make it impossible for them to buy your books. You could try donating a few copies and see how that goes-I’m not sure what the Murray policy is for donated books. Perhaps call them?

Mikey Brooks June 25, 2013 at 2:51 pm

Natalie,
Again this is a great post! I also enjoyed the post you did on eBook in libraries. How do we contact you about getting our books into the Salt Lake County library system? I recently had a new novel come out that I’d love to get in the hand of library readers, especially middle-grade readers. Thanks!
Mikey

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