How To Get Your Books Into Libraries

ghetto Blues_library

How many Indie Authors are interested in getting your self-published books into your local libraries? Have you taken the time to go to your libraries in your city to donate a copy/copies of your book?

I’ve read numerous articles explaining how to get your books into the libraries and they all read like it’s impossible. You need connections or you must have a nice cover, editing, and sell yourself. It’s like going to a job interview, except you’re selling your books.

When I first published my book “The Ghetto Blues” I was too excited and did things that probably wasn’t in my best interest. I was excited and anxious for patrons to read my book! Some of the wrong things came to bite me in my butt, but one thing I did right was, I went to my public library to get my book added to their collection.

In the process of getting my book into the library, I conversed with a librarian. I asked her about Indie Author’s books in their collection, and she told me how libraries do not accept self-published books. Books must have a review from Publisher’s Weekly, Library Journal, major newspapers, etc.  The book has to be in demand as well. The self-published book if accepted would have to go through the same protocol as traditional published books.

I was a new self-published author and I had maybe two Amazon reviews and that’s it! I didn’t have any reviews from the library journal or other recommended companies. I had absolutely no connections at all to the collections department. But I wasn’t going to let any of those barriers deter me from getting my book into the local library system!

I left a few copies of my debut book with the librarian to pass along to the collections department. I asked for the contact person’s phone and email address so that I could follow-up with him. A few days later, I phoned the contact person and left a message. No return call for about three days. I emailed the contact person and I received a response back within a few days. It was not the response that I expected. It was a rejection that included no reason as to why my book couldn’t be added to the collection.

I’m a persistent person when you don’t explain things to me, especially if it doesn’t make  sense. I scheduled a meeting with the person’s boss that rejected my book. Well, I didn’t schedule a meeting, I actually went down there on my lunch break to talk to her. The person I needed to speak with was in a meeting. I left a message with her receptionist and explained what happened.

I received a phone call the next day and talked with the person in charge of the collections department. I explained how my book was rejected without an explanation. She had already reviewed my book prior to calling me and decided that she would add my book to the collection. Yayyyy!! right?

Long story short, the collections department and I are on VERY good terms and not only have they added my debut book to their collection, my second published book, “Tar Baby” has been added, and my latest book, “Tar Baby 2” is in the process of being added. I was even called to see if I could donate a few more copies of my debut book!

One of the biggest mistakes that Indie Authors make when they talk to local libraries is that they want the library to buy their book(s). We all want people to buy our book(s), but if you are an unknown author then you probably should be donating until you are able to prove yourself. Meaning, you are able to keep patrons checking out your products on a regular basis. I’m aware that shelf life is limited and they do not want books that are not being checked out. I was told that my book needed to abide by those same rules whether it was donated or not. I’m happy to see that my books are being checked out(see pic above)!

Getting your books into libraries have many advantages, such as, getting them into many Americans hands to read. According to the statistics, there are over 65% of Americans that have library cards. It’s marketing and you are building your brand name and products. I would advise all Indie Authors to donate their books to get their foot into the door. That age old saying, “you got to crawl before you walk” still applies in this situation.

Until next time, love, peace, and positive vibes, all day every day!



Tammy Campbell Brooks is a native of San Antonio, Texas where she resides with her husband and two children. She enjoys reading, writing, and studying American history as hobbies. The Ghetto Blues is her debut book written about true events that occurred in her life. The successor of The Ghetto Blues novel, "Daddy Issues" is set to be released in 2019.

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