Recently Marlive Harris, owner of the prestigious GRITS Literary Service, university instructor and ardent chuch worker, reminded us all that book clubs and other venues like libraries and independent bookstores, are innundated with thousands of books each year. Be smart about how you approach any one of them. Your success depends on it.
Approach all these places with due respect, but libraries will probably be the easiest of all to deal with. They’re there to help the public and they’re geared to giving service. So, they’re likely to give you an ear. Please make it an effective effort. 1) Don’t act as if your book is the only one on the horizon. 2) Sit down and briefly sum up the salient parts of your book that will interest library readers. 3) Whatever you do, never knock another author’s book or compare it unfavorably to yours. 4) Be sure to give good rates to libraries, as well as to other venues. 5) Put your best foot forward; it doesn’t belong in your mouth. Be pleasant, but don’t take up undue time.
In working with libraries, I’ve found it effective to target the library, get the name of someone who can help you, and rehearse what you’re going to say to them. Need I tell you to listen, listen, listen. It’s one of the best ways in the world to make friends and influence people. I’ve gone over before what your book should have in the way of copyright, IBSN, Library of Congress Control Number. (I goofed recently and said they were only given to books felt to have substantive content, and I was roundly raked by a reader who railed that anybody could get them and they were free. That makes me happy. I found the reason I thought differently, but I won’t go into that.)
I’ll go into more about libraries later, but if you’ll follow these tips it will put you ahead. Let me urge you to make friends with librarians in your burg and enlist their aid. They’re always happy to help you. You’ve got books to sell and they’ve got the readers you need.