Indie Authors: How to Get Visible in Libraries

Image - iStockphoto: DCorn
Image – iStockphoto: DCorn

We’re jazzed to have a visit this week from one of the most respected journalists in the publishing industry. Porter Anderson‘s resumé includes CNN, The Dallas Times Herald, and the Village Voice. He also writes for online biggies like Writer Unboxed, ThoughtCatalog, and FutureBook. He visits most of the major publishing industry conferences worldwide and reports on them in his newsletter, Porter Alerts.

As regular readers know, I urge new writers to enter writing contests to beef up credits, boost your cred and get some positive feedback while you’re building your career. (And maybe even win some cash!) 

I list a few free and affordable contests each week in the “opportunity alerts” section at the bottom of each post. I  look for established contests with an entry fee under $20. I make exceptions if there’s an edit or critique offered for each entry, because that’s usually worth a slightly higher-priced entry fee. 
But as Porter warns, not all contests are created equal. Many are bogus and charge huge fees, especially the ones for self-published books (indies are popular prey for scammers these days.) So check this post by Victoria Strauss at Writer Beware before entering any indie novel contests. 
But the new SELF-E Library Journal contest is different. For one thing, it’s FREE to enter. The monetary prizes are modest ($1000 grand prize in each category). But a win or honorable mention gets you a major amount of discoverability through the Library Journal and distribution to libraries.

Compare that with the cost of a one-day Bookbub ad for a freebie book, and it looks like a very good deal to me.

Superstar indie author Hugh Howey thinks so too. He says:“Librarians can be a powerful marketing force for emerging authors….The SELF-e approach will encourage books to be discovered and even go viral.”…Hugh Howey
Since it’s quite different from other contests, I figured SELF-e deserved its own post, and I’ve invited Porter to tell us all about it….Anne

The SELF-e Contest: Your Chance to Get the Attention of Librarians

by Porter Anderson / @Porter_Anderson

Like trying to flag down triathletes in mid-event, getting the attention of librarians as a self-publishing author these days? — not easy.

After all, our library systems are in heavy competition, themselves. They’re running a mean race against the digital dynamic to find their place in a world that once saw the reference department Xerox machine as the highest tech in the building.

If they can get together, self-publishing authors and libraries have a lot to offer each other.

Libraries need e-content for their patrons, preferably of the kind that can be checked out by multiple readers at once, an unlimited number of times, no waiting for available ebook copies.

And self-publishing writers need to have their ebooks discovered by readers: America’s libraries have some 299.9 million of them.

As my colleague at The Bookseller in London, Philip Jones, has pointed out, “Self-publishing may still feel marginal in terms of overall business right now, but in certain genres it is already highly visible and highly influential.”

So “highly visible and highly influential” is some self-published genre work, in fact, that librarians are eager to have it in their collections for library patrons to check out and read. The problem for them is the marathon they’re running in their own e-evolution: librarians, themselves, have no time to find or read self-published ebooks.

SELF-e main logoThat’s why, until the arrival of Library Journal’s SELF-e program, so many librarians haven’t been able to acquire more self-published work. If estimates are right that as many as 600,000 or more titles are being self-published annually in the States alone, librarians can’t even hope to see and evaluate even a fraction of it.

So let me say a special thanks today to my longtime friend and colleague Anne R. Allen for this chance to tell you about SELF-e. It’s an important development on the self-publishing scene, and one that many indies are studying carefully and using, for its ability to get them into librarians’ consideration.

I’ll make it clear, as I do in each piece I write about SELF-e, that Library Journal is a client of Porter Anderson Media, my consultancy. This means that I am promoting it to authors’ attention as a paid professional consultant. And I’ve taken on this client because I think that SELF-e is a significant new channel to potential discoverability for many independent writers, a channel that is free to writers.

SELF-e competitionIn fact, $4,000 in prize money is being offered at this point by Library Journal to winners in four genres of its 2015 Self-Published eBook Awards. If you’re writing in romance, mystery, science fiction, or fantasy, when you submit a book or books to SELF-e, you can enter the competition. The winner in each of the four genres gets $1,000. Those winners and two runners-up in each genre also get:

  • A full Library Journal review, publishing in print and online (these reviews are used by librarians in choosing acquisitions)
  • Presence in a promotional ad featuring all award winners’ books in Library Journal‘s December “Best of Books” issue
  • Recognition at Library Journal‘s Self-Published eBook Awards Reception during the American Library Association’s huge Midwinter Meeting in Boston

These are extremely valuable prizes — each a way to flag down those librarians and have them see your work. And, as such, this is a singular competition, one that probably is unlike any other being conducted right now. What’s why Anne and I are interested in making sure you have the information you need about this.

Before moving into some detail, let’s get that all-important deadline down: 31 August — 11:59:59 p.m. Eastern time.

Read More

There’s more: Read the full story at Anne R. Allen’s site

By Porter Ander­son

Writing on the Ether:  Indie Authors: How To Get Visible In Libraries

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