Friday, May 29, 2009

The Savvy Book Marketer's Guide to Selling Your Book to Libraries

Here today is Dana Lynn Smith, The Book Marketing Maven, to talk about her ebook, The Savvy Book Marketer's Guide to Selling Your Book to Libraries.

I liked Dana's The Savvy Book Marketer’s Guide to Selling Your Book to Libraries very much. I admire anyone who can explain how the inside of a library operates without having been locked up in one.

Seriously, there is so much the public does not see and often authors imagine how libraries work sometimes based on one or two examples. In another life as a librarian, I purchased books for a public library with multiple branches, a large research university library, and a medium-sized state university library and attended many, many trade shows as a buyer and as a seller.

Dana demystifies the process and offers a comprehensive guide to both new and long published authors. Welcome, Dana and thanks for writing such a needed book.

Dana, Tell me how did you the for research this book?

I spent 13 years with a business book publisher, where libraries were a primary market, so I learned on the job over a number of years. I did hire a research assistant to compile the lists of the top 100 public libraries and top 100 academic libraries that are featured in the book.

What’s the single most important thing an author can do?
Take the time to understand how libraries make purchasing decisions and place orders for books. For nonfiction, libraries are looking to fill a gap in their collection. They want good books on topics they think their patrons are interested in, that they don’t already cover in their collection. Fiction is more of a challenge for independently published authors. Try to find a local angle of some sort and promote any awards you've won and good reviews from well-known sources.

How important are distributors and wholesalers/jobbers?

Most library book orders are placed through distributors and wholesalers, because it’s much more efficient than dealing directly with hundreds of different publishers. If you don’t have a distributor, it’s very helpful for your book to be available through Baker & Taylor, Ingram, or one of the other wholesalers.

How important are print reviews to libraries?

Getting reviewed in one of the major book review journals is the best way to get the attention of libraries. They rely heavily on the journals in their purchasing decisions because there’s simply no way they can keep up with the flood of books being published each year. Your first priority should be to study the submission requirements for the major journals and submit your book to those that are a good fit. Submissions need to be made before or just after publication, depending on the journal. There’s a list of review journals on my website

Unfortunately, with such limited space in the review journals, many excellent books never get reviewed there. You can also reach libraries through direct mail, co-op advertising, tradeshows,, and phone calls or visits to libraries.

So Ms. Savvy, what’s next for you?

I have just released my second book, The Savvy Book Marketer’s Guide to Successful Social Marketing. To learn more about promoting through social media, follow my virtual book tour where I’ll discuss social media marketing on a dozen leading blogs, ezines and podcasts.
That sounds like information that all writers need. Please come back and tell us about that one.

Dana Lynn Smith is a book marketing coach and author of the Savvy Book Marketer Guide series at For a free copy of her ebook, Top Book Marketing Tips of 2008, use the sign up form on her blog at
She also offers free podcasts about selling to libraries & using social marketing at


  1. Interesting post, Amber and Dana. One of my publishers sells primarily to libraries and I've yet to understand how this market works. This might be just the thing. Oh, and I was interested in those 3 libraries in Arizona you mentioned over at the Book Spa. Care to share?

  2. Good blog! Interesting concept. I have managed to get the nearby library to carry my books. They were pretty good about it. Guess I need to hit a few more.

    P. L. Parker

  3. My book, Heart of the Wolf, was named Publishers Weekly's Best Book of the Year. This helped tremendously on library sales. :) Also, if the library has the funds, patrons can request that a library purchase a book. If there are enough requests, it might just happen. :)

  4. Very interesting and informative blog. Thanks Amber and Dana.

  5. Thank you for the informative post! :)

  6. Hi Maggie,
    The three biggies are Tucson 27 locations and Phoenix and Maricopa 16 each. Dana's book provides addresses, but you could call the ones you are interested.
    Library budgets have been hurt so badly it's hard to tell if purchaseing is at all nornal these days.

  7. Yes Terry reviews and big awards count. My library system has your book. ALso some publishers have an inside track with libraries because of their history.

  8. Great info for authors in any genre! Thanks, Amber and Dana!

  9. Thanks for the interesting post. My local library is very good about ordering in books that might not be on their catalogue. Most of the time they seem to purchase books I suggest. I love my local library. :)

  10. I understand the best way to market to libraries is by using five star publishers .
    They sell directly to libraries.

    Johnny ray

  11. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  12. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  13. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.