By Jen Malone
Most of us writer types could probably find a way to live on books alone, but sadly, the kids need new soccer cleats, the car needs gas, and there’s the small matter of the bank preferring our mortgage payment in dollar form thankyouverymuch. So at times we’re forced with some tough choices with regards to the books we purchase, but that doesn’t mean we can’t be vital support systems for our author friends. Last month I blogged about how to support an author through well-timed book purchases. This month’s follow-up will discuss ways to put a book on the radar of librarians. Stayed tuned for more in this series; there are tons of free and easy ways to help boost book sales for the authors in your life!
Libraries have to make the same tough book-buying decisions the rest of us do. Budgets are being slashed and libraries need to expand the scope of their services and resources beyond just offering books. That said, there are few more passionate and dedicated book lovers than a group of librarians.
Here are some ways you can put a book on their radar:
Request a copy of the book.
This seems simple, right? Most libraries make this quite effortless to do with an online link such as this one from Memorial Hall Library in Andover, MA (also pictured below): http://www.mhl.org/catalog/request/suggest.htm
You will typically need to know the information listed in the screen capture above, which is readily available on publisher’s websites or on Goodreads when you search for a book by title. Most libraries will only allow card-carrying members to request a title for purchase, which is where the beauty of Facebook and a vast network of friends and family comes into play! If each one asks their local library to buy a book, it adds up.
Talk Up the Book with Librarians
When the book on order comes in, make a big deal about it as you check it out. Librarians love to hear what their patrons are excited about. The same goes for when you return the book. Letting librarians know what you liked about the title and what titles you would compare it to will help them more easily recommend it to other patrons.
Speak to librarians about programming
If your author friend is comfortable with public speaking and able to visit the library in person, make mention of this to the librarian in your branch. Often they are on the hunt for local or visiting authors who can meet with a book club or discuss a particular topic that fits with the library’s upcoming programming.
Vote for and review the book on Goodreads.
In general, it’s a great idea to cut and paste your review of the book anywhere and everywhere readers look for books (Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, etc.) but did you know many librarians also take to Goodreads to help inform their purchasing decisions? Librarians find new books by searching for lists such as “Best Middle Grade of 2014” or “Debut YA Authors 2014”. You can easily find the lists your author’s books are on by scrolling to the bottom of each book’s Goodreads page until you get to the section titled: Lists With This Book”
Click on those lists and VOTE, VOTE, VOTE for your favorite books!
If the book isn’t on lists yet, you can add to it any list or even create your own. Goodreads lists can be found on the top menu. Select Explore and then Listopia. From there you can browse or search existing lists or create one of your own.
Once you’ve found or created a suitable list, you can easily add your author’s book by using the tab that says: “Add books to the list” or the tab in the upper right that says “Create a list.”
Then pat yourself on the back. You’ve made an author’s day! Stay tuned next month for more tips on boosting a book’s visibility in the world and helping out the authors you love.
In the meantime, how do you use your local library to your advantage? What programs do you support at your library?