Here’s a simple, low profile, no cost way to do so:
Check out eBookChristian, Christianbook.com or Amazon to find a title that interests you. Then borrow it from your local library. If your library doesn’t have it, ask them to bring it in from one of their partner libraries, or even to order it for their collection.
Libraries pay attention to borrowing records. As detailed in a previous blog post, the acting children’s librarian checked to see how many times my first book, Scissortown, had been borrowed before purchasing Marie and Mr. Bee.
Our library even keeps track of how often a book is taken off the shelf. When I asked about Scissortown, I was not only told how many times it had been borrowed, but how often it had been re-shelved after being examined (and hopefully read!) by a patron.
Let people know which libraries have your book in their collections. Not everyone will buy your book, but those who read it for free can still be valuable allies.
This is an easy and pleasant way to encourage libraries not to place books we love in their discard piles. In fact, I prefer to borrow Christian books from our public library, even if it means waiting while it’s brought in, rather than our church library for that reason.
Authors Community COO Gina Burgess has some advice for American authors: “Go to Public Libraries, find your state and click on it, and you’ll see a list of public libraries with their locations and phone numbers. Call the ones in your area and ask for the name and email address of the person in charge of acquisitions in your genre. Email first, then follow up with a phone call. If it is in your budget, you can also send a small poster along with your book, or a few bookmarks to place at the checkout. The more library shelves your book graces, the more credibility you have. Remember, giving away one book to a library can lead to the purchase of many more.”
Canada has a similar site, which lists public libraries in major cities. A directory that also includes smaller centers can be found by searching for “all public libraries” in your province. For Canadian authors, having your books in libraries may also be financially rewarding (over and above payment for the book). The Canada Council for the Arts Public Lending Right Program pays authors and illustrators based on the presence of an eligible title in selected library systems. Registration is free.
Authors in other countries may wish to check out Public Lending Right International for a list of over 30 countries that have PLR programs.
And, if you can afford to buy books—consider doing so from Christian e-tailers and brick and mortar stores. We want them, and the books they carry, to be around for a long time!
Are you using the library to promote your own books and those of other authors? Do you have other suggestions on how to use this valuable resource? Please let us know in a comment below.
Margaret Welwood loved teaching English as a Second Language, writing magazine articles, and editing a business magazine and adult non-fiction books (one an Amazon #1 best seller, the other a Writer’s Digest award winner). However, with the arrival of grandchildren and their welcome request—“Grandma, can you tell me a story?”—she began writing and editing picture books for children. This is now her favorite genre.