Self-Publishing Made Simple – Part 10

This is Part 10 in my Self-Publishing Made Simple blog series.

Self-Publishing

The Library Market

What format do libraries prefer?

Librarians responded to one author’s query stating they preferred trade paperback in large print over hardcover books, because hardcovers were heavier, more expensive, took up more space on the shelves, and were difficult to hold for older patrons. This may not be true across the board, but it’s something to keep in mind. You might want to conduct your own survey.

E-book Pricing Suggestions for Libraries
$.99 retail – $2.99 library
$3.99 retail – $7.99 library
$4.99 retail – $9.99 library

Library of Congress Control Number
Libraries use the Library of Congress number to organize their materials. This program allows them to catalog books before they’re published and to add the digital record to their computer search program.

If you have an imprint that buys ISBNs from Bowker, you can set up an account with the LOC. You cannot, as an individual, order a number for a book. You have to buy at least 10 ISBNs. Publishers must list a U.S. city as place of publication on the title or copyright page.

Apply online through the small press option at https://www.loc.gov/publish/pcn/ about two to four weeks before you go to final formatting. You’ll need to assign your ISBN number first, because LOC will ask for the title and ISBN. They email you the LOC number and how you should put it on the copyright page.

Be aware that getting a Library of Congress Control Number does not guarantee the LOC will catalog your book. If they choose not to, when a librarian plugs your number into their system, they will pull up a blank entry.

Items that are NOT eligible include works under fifty pages unless it’s children’s literature, E-books, mass market paperbacks, books that have already been published, and more. Complete list is here: https://www.loc.gov/publish/pcn/about/scope.html

Getting Your Book Into Libraries

You can help make your print book available to librarians by offering a discount through IngramSpark and by listing your book in their new release catalog. You can also offer it through Baker & Taylor at Draft2Digital. Having an LOC number is an optional choice.

See if your county or city library system accepts books by local indie authors. Some have special programs just for this purpose. Offer to give talks and participate in panel discussions to get to know your librarians. For e-books, make sure your book is available through Overdrive. See Part 6 below.

How to Reach the Library Market for Indie Authors #indiepub #indieauthors Click To Tweet

Coming Next: Final Thoughts on Indie Publishing

Did you miss the earlier posts on my Self-Publishing Made Simple blog series? Go here to catch up:
Part 9 – How to Use IngramSpark, https://wp.me/paLXP7-4qn
Part 8 – Why Choose IngramSpark, https://wp.me/paLXP7-4qk
Part 7 – Print Book Distributors, https://wp.me/paLXP7-4qh
Part 6 – E-book Distributors, https://wp.me/paLXP7-4qf
Part 5 – Book Production for the Indie Author, https://wp.me/paLXP7-4q6
Part 4 – Buying and Assigning ISBNs, https://wp.me/paLXP7-4pO
Part 3 – Adding Front & Back Material, https://wp.me/paLXP7-4pz
Part 2 – Manuscript Preparation for the Indie Author, https://wp.me/paLXP7-4oX
Part 1 – Getting Started as an Indie Publisher, https://wp.me/paLXP7-4oQ

 

5 Tips for Compelling Library Programs

“Librarians want programs that fulfill at least two of the Three E’s: Engage, Educate, and Entertain.” This is not only true of libraries, but also works for community groups where authors may be invited to speak. These tips will enhance your chances of garnering an invitation.

American Library Association Convention

Last Sunday, I attended the American Library Association conference at the enormous convention hall in Orlando. For one hour, I greeted librarians and signed books at the Sisters in Crime booth. Once my stint finished, and I’d given away all 32 copies of Hanging by a Hair paperback that I’d brought, I circulated around to see what books I could collect and who I might meet. Publishers touted their books while vendors selling equipment and technology experts plied their wares to passersby. It’s a huge conference. This was only the exhibit hall, but there were classes and other events going on concurrently.

IMG_2343 P1050622 ALA Loot

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My feet tired after an hour, and so we joined our kids to visit the Artegon Marketplace on International Drive. Artisan shops and artsy displays on the walls filled this indoor air-conditioned mall next to Outdoor World. Be aware that food choices are limited, and so is the shopping.

This ended our last weekend in Orlando. Back home, I got an email that my first ever audiobook had gone live. More on that next time!

 

Save

Save

Librarians and Authors

Contests

Enter to win 1 of 4 signed ARCs of Hanging By A Hair in my Goodreads Giveaway: https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/enter_choose_address/81598

Win a $25 gift card or 1 of 6 books, including an ARC for Hanging By A Hair, at Booklover’s Bench: http://bookloversbench.com/

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We continue with my recap of panels and workshops at SleuthFest. These are my interpretations and notes, and any misstatement is my error. Photos are viewable from my Facebook Page. Like my page, then click on Photos, Albums, and SleuthFest 2014.

Librarian/Author Mash-Up

Authors Nancy J. Cohen and Elaine Viets, Librarians Judy Buckland and Jo-Ann Glendinning; Moderated by Julie Compton

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Nancy J. Cohen, Judy Buckland, Elaine Viets

Note: We will be appearing at the Lake County BookFest this week. Go here for the schedule and more information: http://www.mylakelibrary.org/festival_of_reading/default.aspx

Who do we contact at a library if authors want to set up an event? Contact the program coordinator or director of library systems. Make your desire known as an author that you want to participate.

What works well for the librarians? Connecting writers with readers. Librarians can find out what circulates where, and then match authors to those audiences. They can make sure to have a visiting author’s book in circulation. For new acquisitions, they’ll read reviews and research Baker and Taylor and Booklist.

The Lake County library system has a local authors’ day twice a year for their local and self-published authors. This may include multiple authors plus one special guest.

In schools, look for the curriculum research or media specialist. It’s tough to get in the school libraries. Or check the school volunteer programs and offer to speak.

If you want to sign at the American Library Association event, a requirement is that your publisher donates one hundred copies of your book. You can have bookmarks with your backlist titles.

What draws people in? Writing workshops. Libraries can target groups, not only aspiring writers but also historians, for example, and invite Downton Abbey fans for tea. Targeting niche audiences works well this way. The Red Hat Ladies is another group they’ve approached for an author event.

What types of promotion work for the library? Having a website, putting a magnet on their courier van, newsletters, listserves among librarians. E-books are bought from Overdrive. Problems they encounter may be publishers who limit circulation or publishers who won’t license e-books to the library.

Audio books have grown. People check them out for trips, including truck drivers. Vision-impaired patrons like them. They are downloadable through Overdrive. Large print books are a good business, too.

What do the librarians require from an author? A website, media page, short and long biography, high resolution photo with permission from the photographer, and a bibliography of their books. Authors should show up on time for programs and have a contact number to call.

If you’re an author, how do you approach a library to do an event? Has this been successful for you?

 

Lake County BookFest

I’ll be appearing at the Lake County (Florida) BookFest this week if you’re in central Florida. There’s a whole bunch of events planned so I hope some of you can join the fun! I’ve done this event in the past and it has been a blast, as shown from these photos below.

MarlaMural

March 13 – 15, Lake County BookFest, http://www.mylakelibrary.org/festival_of_reading/default.aspx

Lake County BookFest

March 13, Thursday, 7:00 pm, “Murder on Bay Street”, Historic State Theatre, 109 N. Bay Street, Eustis, FL 32726, with Robin Burcell, Nancy J. Cohen, Deborah Sharp, and Elaine Viets.

March 14, Friday, 10:00 am, “How to Get Published” with Nancy J. Cohen at Fruitland Park Library, 205 W. Berckman Street, Fruitland Park, FL 34731, 352-360-6561

March 14, Friday, 2:30 pm, “Killer Releases” with Robin Burcell, Nancy J. Cohen, Deborah Sharp, Elaine Viets, W. T. Bland Public Library, 1995 N. Donnelly Street, Mount Dora, FL 32757, 352-735-7180

March 14, Friday, 6:00 pm, Authors’ Reception, Leesburg Public Library, 100 E. Main Street ,Leesburg, FL, 34748, 352-728-9790

March 15, Saturday, 11:00 am, “Plotting Made Perfect” with Nancy J. Cohen, W. T. Bland Public Library, 1995 N. Donnelly Street, Mount Dora, FL 32757, 352-735-7180

Please join us!

Contest News

Enter to win 1 of 4 signed ARCs of Hanging By A Hair in my Goodreads Giveaway: https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/enter_choose_address/81598 

Win a $25 gift card or 1 of 6 books, including an ARC for Hanging By A Hair, at Booklover’s Bench: http://bookloversbench.com/ 

 

Reinvent or Die

What is the impact of the digital revolution on booksellers, librarians, and authors? A panel at the recent Florida Chapter of MWA meeting addressed this issue.

Panelists were Deborah Sharp, moderator and author of the Mace Bauer mysteries. The latest title in this humorous series is Mama Sees Stars. Other speakers included Joanne Sinchuk, manager and founder of Murder on the Beach Mystery Bookstore and current Director of the IMBA; Barbara Miller, Programs & Exhibits Coordinator from Broward County Library; and Stacy Alesi, who’s in charge of the Authors Live Program at Palm Beach Library and who blogs as the popular Book Bitch.

MWA2 June12
Stacy, Barbara, Joanne, Deborah and Neil Plakcy

MWA June12

Stacy, Barbara, Joanne, and Deborah

How is the industry evolving?

The speakers began by citing statistics showing the rise of ebooks in market share and in library circulation. For example, Stacy said the circulation at her library in 2009 was 542 ebooks. This increased to 11,855 ebooks in 2011. Ebooks went from 16% of total a/v materials in circulation to 73.8% in 2011. They’re not cutting back on print books in order to gain the funding to buy digital copies, but instead they purchase less audio books and music CDs for the library. Meanwhile, librarians often have to teach people how to download an ebook. Older patrons may not even know how to use a computer.

Barbara said that ebooks supplement, rather than replace, print books. And backlist titles in ebooks are popular.

Joanne remarked that it’s easier for writers to get published now, but the gatekeepers are gone.

They used to be editors and booksellers. This leads to a lack of quality control. “There’s a lot of junk out there. How does a reader plow through this?”

On the good side, 15% more indie bookstores opened last year. How can an independent bookstore survive? “You have to change with the times.” Her store does literary luncheons and runs workshops for writers at their Authors Academy. “We are constantly changing.” Joanne finds less publishers sending authors to the store for book tours, likely due to reduced budgets.

Can a self-published author get into the library?

Stacy said they have a selection policy. A book has to be reviewed in a specific list of journals, such as PW, Library Journal, Booklist, and Kirkus. Baker & Taylor is their main distributor. The Friends of the Library give them funds to buy books not on those lists, and this may include self-published works. Nor can an author donate a book for their collection. Likely it would end up in the Friends of the Library book sale.

Barbara claimed they invite local authors to speak at the library even if their book isn’t on the shelves. Ebooks go through the same selection process and are bought via Overdrive, which doesn’t take self-published works. One of the roadblocks to obtaining more books in digital format is that publishers either increase the price of ebooks, or else they’re not releasing their titles in digital editions.

Joan Johnston, a NY Times bestselling author, pointed out that a writer’s backlist might not be available in ebook because either the publisher doesn’t have the rights or else they offer to pay the author a piddling royalty and the writer refuses.

Joanne has taken to charging self-published authors a fee to do a booksigning at her store. It’s not an uncommon policy. There has to be some sort of filter, she says.

Donna Marie Mergenhagen, proprietor of Well Read Books in Fort Lauderdale, said she won’t stock books for a signing but instead sells them from the author’s stock on consignment. She’s found that indie booksellers are acting as the gatekeepers these days. If a self-published book has errors, she will not recommend it to her customers.

Another author suggested booksellers ask the self-published writer, “Who’s your editor?” before accepting their work to read. This would help weed out the bad stuff.

What about collaborative efforts?

Libraries may order books from local bookstores for an event. That way, the Friends make money if they buy the book at a discount and sell it at full price. The bookstore hands out flyers to help advertise the event, while the author shares the responsibility for publicity and for bringing in their fans. An article in the local newspaper helps draw attention to events. Announcements on Facebook can also attract readers.

A brief discussion ensued about signings with ebooks but the technology, while present, isn’t widely used yet. Plus what is the psychology of getting a book signed? Is it to meet the author in person? To make a connection? Will this meaningful interaction be the same with a digitally signed copy?

Joanne surveyed her customers as to how they decide what ebook to buy. Answers were:

1. It’s their favorite author in the print world

2. They go to B&N and browse the shelves then order the ebook

3. They read independent reviews, not the ones on Amazon

4. Word-of-mouth recommendations from friends

Then Joanne posed this question for you to answer:

What do you see as the bookseller’s role going forward in relation to authors?

LIBRARIES IN A DIGITAL WORLD

Will libraries become a relic of the past when books turn digital?  Like in a Dr. Who episode, will there be one vast library that’s a repository for the entire world, the sole remaining place holding dusty shelves? That was a cool couple of episodes with David Tennant starring, by the way. Think about the trees cut down to produce all that paper and where those once living trees might have come from. Anyway, will libraries, with reduced funding as an additional obstacle, still be viable ten years from now?                          Books

If you think of the library as a multi-media center, then I believe the answer is yes. Besides books, movies, and music, public libraries offer free classes on a variety of topics, meeting rooms, computer centers, literacy and outreach programs. And did you know you could order digital books from the library to download to your eReader?  You can probably research whatever you want by accessing library services online, too.

 A recent article in an AARP bulletin for seniors reports about how Queens Library in New York holds a phone-in discussion group twice a week.  Participants dial in at the prescribed times and chat about books, recipes, current events topics, history, and more. It’s a great way for people to keep in touch and have human contact when they can’t get about so easily. The library’s mail-in program supplies assisted living facilities and homebound individuals with reading materials, movies, and music.  These are great services for people who want to benefit from their local library but don’t have the means to get there.

It appears as though the role of the library in the future is to expand rather than to shrink. So donate your used books to your local library, join the Friends of the Library and support their fund-raisers, and give your librarian a big hug of appreciation for all her efforts.

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REFERENCE BOOKS

Who said books were outdated? A home library can be a boon for writers even with the advantages of the Internet. For example, I needed to know the difference between a Chinese junk and a sampan for my current WIP. My characters have to go from an island off the coast of Japan all the way to Taiwan. They hire a boat from a small fishing village. Which type of vessel would be appropriate? Here’s what I found.                                               Chinese Junk

First I looked online at Wikipedia on these sites:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Junk_(ship)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sampan

From these articles, I learned a sampan is a flat bottomed boat used for fishing or transportation in inland waters like lakes and rivers. It’s propelled by poles, oars, or an outboard motor. Sampans are still used in rural areas in Southeast Asia. They may have a shelter on board and be used as living quarters.

On the other hand, a junk is an oceangoing vessel with several sails. War junks and merchant junks were common in the past. With their longer range and multiple uses, this type of ship suits my purpose. I have only to watch videos of Horatio Hornblower to get a feel for the claustrophobic interior.

Suppose my characters walk the deck. What do I call the different parts of the ship? Here I checked my home library and found the following books:

SHIP: The Epic Story of Maritime Adventure by Brian Lavery, Dorling Kindersley ,2004.

The Visual Dictionary of Ships and Sailing, Eyewitness Visual Dictionaries, Dorling Kindersley, 1991.

I love these visual dictionaries. You can find almost anything. We have several of them on our shelves and they’re wonderful references.

Here are some more recommendations, although I have older versions:

The Dorling Kindersley Visual Encyclopedia, Dorling Kindersley, 1995

The Visual Dictionary of Everyday Things, Eyewitness Visual Dictionaries, Dorling Kindersley , 1991

Ultimate Visual Dictionary, Dorling Kindersley, 1994

What’s What: A Visual Glossary of the Physical World, Reginald Bragonier, Jr. And David Fisher, Ballantine, 1981

Descriptionary: A Thematic Dictionary, Marc McCutcheon, Ballantine, 1992.

Illustrated Reverse Dictionary, Reader’s Digest Association, 1997.

Sometimes as writers doing research, we uncover obscure, fun details to add to our stories. Look what I found when I put Japanese Fishing Boat into an online search function: A Japanese trawler was sunk by a giant jellyfish. Cool, I can use this info in my story. These creatures are real and can weigh up to 400 pounds. Read more about it here:

http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2009/11/02/enormous-jellyfish-sink-japanese-fishing-boat

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/6483758/Japanese-fishing-trawler-sunk-by-giant-jellyfish.html

 So while many things can be looked up on the Internet, sometimes a real book is just what you need to meet your research requirements. With the digital age upon us, don’t toss these tree killers–or whatever activists are calling them these days–into the bonfire just yet. Regard them instead as treasures of knowledge.

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Florida Library Association

I was happy to participate in a panel discussion at the Florida Library Association Convention in Orlando recently. The evening before, local MWA members met for dinner at Hot Olives in Winter Park. Located on New England Avenue, this trendy restaurant sat us outside on their shady patio amid bamboo, lit torches, and tropical trees. I tried their famous chopped olive appetizer and ordered pecan crusted salmon while chatting with fellow MWAers. We all had a great time in a relaxed atmosphere.  

Grace Kone & Nancy Cohen

Ann Meier & Sharon Potts

MWA1

Neil Plakcy, James Born, Julie Compton

Neil Plakcy & Bob Morris

Dean Murphy, Joan Bond, Gerry Wolfson-Grande, Frances Palmingiano

Linda Hengerer & Olive Pollak

Early the following morning, six of us appeared at an MWA sponsored breakfast at the FLA convention. Over 150 librarians ate the sit-down meal while we introduced ourselves and answered questions from the guests. James Born, Neil Plakcy, Julie Compton, Deborah Sharp, Sharon Potts, and Moi then spoke on a panel about Florida mysteries and why we like living and writing about this vast state. We all agreed Florida has such a diverse population, ecology, and climate, not to mention kooky characters, that it’s the perfect setting for our stories.               

Julie Compton, Neil Plakcy, Nancy Cohen, Sharon Potts, James Born, Deborah Sharp

                 
                                                                 

Sharon Potts & Nancy Cohen with Librarian Judy Buckland