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Unlocking the Shelves: A Guide to Getting Your Book into Libraries

Every author dreams of having their book gracing the shelves of libraries, where it can be discovered by countless readers. As a hybrid publisher, we understand the significance of this achievement. In this blog, we'll share a comprehensive guide on how authors can successfully get their books into libraries.

1. Prepare Your Book for Library Inclusion

Before reaching out to libraries, it's essential to ensure that your book is well-prepared for the journey. Here are some key steps:

  • Professional Editing: Have your book professionally edited to ensure it's free of errors and reads smoothly.

  • Attractive Cover Design: Invest in an eye-catching, professionally designed book cover. A well-designed cover is more likely to catch a librarian's eye.

  • ISBN and Cataloging: Make sure your book has an International Standard Book Number (ISBN) and proper cataloging information, such as genre, categories, and keywords. (Need an ISBN, check out Bowker!)

  • Quality Printing: If you're self-publishing, ensure that your book is printed to a professional standard. Double-check the files and print guidelines of the printer to ensure quality printing and avoid costly mistakes.

  • Printer & Distributor: Be sure that your book can be accessed in their database for purchase. This means, if you are self publishing with Ingram or Amazon, you will need to toggle the settings ON for distribution, set your wholesale price to 55% discount, AND turn on returns. If you do not have these settings, libraries and bookstores will likely pass up your book unless they have developed a personal relationship with you as an author and show an interest in your book.

2. Identify Libraries to Target

Start by identifying the libraries you want to approach. Consider both public and academic libraries, as well as specialized libraries that cater to your book's niche. Local libraries and libraries in your area are a great place to start. You can use library directories and resources like WorldCat to find libraries that may be interested in your book.

3. Build a Strong Author Platform

Libraries often take an interest in books by authors with an established platform. Focus on:

  • Author Website: Create a professional author website that includes information about your books, author bio, and contact details.

  • Online Presence: Build a presence on social media platforms, engage with your audience, and connect with potential readers.

  • Book Reviews and Endorsements: Gather book reviews and endorsements from respected sources in your genre.

4. Develop a Solid Pitch

Your pitch to libraries should be clear and compelling. It should include:

  • Book Description: A concise and engaging summary of your book's content.

  • Author Information: A brief author bio highlighting your qualifications and any relevant expertise.

  • Target Audience: Information about the audience your book is intended for.

  • Metadata: Information about your book's format including ISBN, format, page count, and book size.

5. Contact Libraries

Once you have identified your target libraries and prepared your pitch, it's time to reach out. You can contact libraries in several ways:

  • Email: Send a well-crafted email to library directors, acquisitions librarians, or department heads. Include your pitch, sell sheet, and a request for consideration.

  • Phone: Calling the library and speaking directly to the acquisitions department can be an effective way to introduce your book.

  • Postal Mail: A professionally presented physical package can also capture attention. Include a cover letter, your book, and promotional materials.

  • In Person: Visit a library with free copies of your book, your sell sheet, and any other promotional materials you'd like to gift the librarian (bookmarks, business cards, stickers, etc). Ask if the Librarian is available to chat, but be aware that they may not be available at the drop of a hat for you. Leave your information so they could call or email you with a response or a time to meet for an appointment!

6. Be Persistent and Patient

Getting your book into libraries may take time. Libraries often have acquisition schedules and budgets to consider. Don't be discouraged by initial rejections or delays. Follow up politely and be patient.

7. Offer to Donate Copies

Sometimes, offering to donate a few copies of your book to the library can be a good way to initiate a relationship. If your book is well-received, they may purchase additional copies.

8. Attend Author Events

Participate in local author events, book fairs, and library programs. It's an excellent opportunity to connect with librarians and introduce them to your work.

9. Leverage Your Network

Use your existing network to connect with librarians. If you have author friends with books in libraries, ask them for introductions or advice.

10. Follow Library Guidelines

Each library may have its own guidelines and criteria for book inclusion. Ensure that your book complies with these guidelines.

Getting your book into libraries is a rewarding endeavor that can expand your readership and establish your presence in the literary world. By following these steps and being persistent, you can increase your chances of seeing your book on the shelves of libraries, where it can be discovered and enjoyed by a broader audience.

Need help bringing your book to life? Meraki Press exists to serve first-time authors as they grow and launch their passion projects!

We offer complete packages or a la carte services for every step of drafting to publishing!

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