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You’ve written your family history… and self-published. It’s a good read (if you do say so yourself). In fact, it’s got a local tie and others in your community might be interested in reading it.

But how do you get it into your local library?

1.    Have a professional quality book. No one wants to read a book with a sloppily-designed cover, no ISBN number, or something with typos in it. It cannot be spiral bound, and you will need to persuade the collection librarian by showing off your sales numbers and good reviews.
2.    Develop a presentation or event that reflects the theme of your book. Is there a house or another building that features prominently in the story? What about a location, or a link to someone locally famous? What about the family history is significant to others in your area? Put together a short (10-15 slide) presentation and offer it to the library as an event, where you can also sell your book.
3.    Donate copies. Libraries are more strapped for cash than ever. Putting one or two copies of your book into their collection might be appreciated!
4.    Contribute to the self-published author shelf. Many local libraries, in response to the ever-growing demand from self-published authors, have developed a special area of the library where library users can see what kind of talent local authors have.
5.    Ask your librarian to add your book to the local history section. Just about every community – regardless of size – has a local history section, and if your family significantly contributed to the establishment of the community or did other important work where you live, it would probably be appreciated.
6.    Push your ebook. More and more library patrons are requesting ebooks for their readers. If the library does any promotion about “What’s new in ebooks” on a regular basis, then ask to have your title included in the newsletter/email.
7.    Create demand! Have a few friends/family members ask their local branch for your title. Many libraries work off what’s called DDA (demand-driven acquisition) – which is just a fancy term for “when users ask for something, put it on the list to add to our collection.”

Visit the Family History Month page for more research and publishing tips from Bowker and ProQuest.


Library Journal coverage of “Marketing to Libraries” at BEA
I Love Libraries blog post
Self Publishing Review website

03 Oct 2014

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