Finding New Readers Through Your Local Library

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By Katelyn Uplinger

Writing a book takes a lot of time, effort, and determination, but authors aren’t off the hook when the book is published. Next comes marketing, which can be just as frustrating as writing. I’ve written before about how useful libraries can be for writers, but libraries can help you with more than just writing, researching, and improving your craft. Libraries offer other helpful options for published authors. Getting your book on the shelves of your local library can help you snag new readers and reviews. Some libraries even invite local authors to give talks or meet up with other authors.

Use your library to reach out to possible new readers.

How do you get a copy of your book on the shelves of your local library? Talk to a librarian. Libraries often have a donation option, allowing you to donate as many copies as you want. If you can’t afford it, you can always suggest your book to the library. However, there is no guarantee your book will be ordered. The surefire way to get your book on the shelves is by donating your book yourself. And consider donating more than just a print book. There are also a lot of ebook readers out there that include people who don’t visit the physical library often but loan out ebooks regularly. Donating a print and ebook copy will help you reach the most readers whether they prefer print or ebooks.

If you worry readers won’t see your book, ask your librarian if you can have it set on display at the library to catch the attention of library goers. Sometimes my local library does a small display of books on local topics or by books by local authors. See if your library ever does similar displays. The library is a good opportunity to find readers you might not find otherwise. Readers not willing to buy your book, but who are curious enough to lend it out might give it a chance. Likewise, those who are on limited book budgets and rely on their library will also now have access to your book. Any of those reads could turn into online reviews, reviews you may not have gotten otherwise.

Want to use the library for even more advertisement? Ask a librarian about giving some sort of talk. You could do a reading and take questions, or for non-fiction authors some libraries invite authors in to give a lecture on the topic they wrote about. It’d give you another opportunity to snag new readers and get the word out locally about your book. If you’re looking to do more networking don’t hesitate to go to lectures or talks by other local authors. You might meet someone you can swap advice and experiences with.

Libraries are a useful tool for authors no matter which stage of writing you’re at. Whether you’re researching or exploring avenues to snag more readers, the library has you covered. Getting your book on the shelves can help garner more readers and online reviews. Giving a talk or lecture is a great way to get some local advertisement. If you’re looking to make new connections, use your local library as a way to meet other local authors by reading their books or going to their talks.

Katelyn is a literary assistant at Holloway Literary. You can follow her on social @KatelynUplinger