Leverage Your Library
If you’re an independent author like me, you keep your eyes open for any avenue to promote yourself or your work. If you read my blog before, then you may have seen where I talked about I’ve spoken at my local library. About two years ago I began speaking at libraries about self-publishing and I put on one such class for the library in Troy, Michigan. Because of this association other doors have opened up to me.
This is something that every independent author should be doing. Not necessarily putting on self-publishing workshops, but some sort of work at your local library. Just about every library system wants to get patrons through the door and programs are one way of doing that. Whether or not yours in particular would work may be one thing, but considering you will be giving your services to them for free should be enticing enough for them to take interest in you.
That’s right, you’re giving away your service for free.
‘Why would I do that?’ you might ask. One very simple answer: association. If this is the first time you’ve ever put on an event like this then you want to become known for it. You can’t expect to get paid for something that isn’t proven in this situation. I got lucky in that the first time I put on a self-publishing workshop at the Clinton-Macomb Library they did pay me an honorarium. But I didn’t get that at every library where I spoke, including the one in my own city. But because the one I did here was so popular, they approached me about doing another. Circumstances prevented me from doing it as soon as we both would have liked, but this year I have begun again and this time they are paying me an honorarium in addition to another library not far from me that wants me to put on a workshop for them.
This couldn’t have happened if I pitched my idea to every library expecting to be paid. And free is not necessarily free. If you offer your services to a library for free then you have no tax write off except for your mileage and any materials that you have to produce. But if you get the program director interested first and then say I charge $100 but I would be willing to waive my fee for the library and have them draw up paperwork or you draft a contract to that effect you can use that as a tax write off.
And once you have put on the program they liked, regardless of turnout (meaning they liked you because ultimately that’s what you’re selling) you can use your contact to grow more contacts with the library because guess what else libraries have: books.
Because I have been communicating with my library on a regular basis now whenever I have a new release all I have to do is tell them about it and they will order it. And the person who orders e-books for my library manages a system of cooperating libraries—meaning when she orders a book for one, she orders a book for all of them at the same time. I have had two major releases this year, Vamp-Hire and Anything but Zombies, both e-books, and my local library has them in their electronic catalog.
There are also unexpected benefits to having a relationship with your library as an independent author. I had not heard of the Michigan Notable Books Award, but when my library forwarded that information to me I submitted both of the books I’ve had published this year to be considered for it. I don’t know what will come of it, but maybe I get a little more promotion for my work.
Also, because they know me as a local author, my library invited me to speak at a managers’ meeting at City Hall. They want to know about my experiences with publishing and have thrown the door pretty much wide open for me to speak about anything I want. I placed one condition—I wanted the library to purchase my Halloween e-book, The Best Night of the Year for each of the attendees. At 99₵ per copy they leapt at the opportunity to spend less than $50 to get what they wanted and at 15-20 minutes of speaking time, there was value in it for me too. Plus I’m using this speaking opportunity to knock the rust off before I do my next official workshop.
This type of networking has not cost me a dime. It certainly has been time-consuming, but time-consuming in a way that has had a positive effect. This is a partnership I intend to continue and grow and hopefully build into a network with other libraries. I would suggest every independent author who does not have a current relationship with his or her library to begin fostering one. Even if you don’t have a workshop idea, perhaps you have extra time and could volunteer or maybe you could just call your library and explain to them that you’re an independent author and that you’d be interested in getting your book on their shelves. I said in a prior post how people really like talking to authors. That includes people who work at libraries. Perhaps by introducing yourself to your library they may have programs they’re looking to put on that you could helm or they may be interested in hosting a book signing. There is a myriad of potential with your library that will go untapped if you never make contact.
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The stench of frozen flesh is in the air! Welcome to the Winter of Zombie Blog Tour 2015, with 40+ of the best zombie authors spreading the disease in the month of November.
Stop by the event page on Facebook so you don’t miss an interview, guest post or teaser…and pick up some great swag as well!
Giveaways galore from most of the authors as well as interaction with them!
#WinterofZombie is the hashtag for Twitter, too!