Thursday, October 17, 2013

Three Ways to Get Your Book into Libraries

By Elaine Wilkes, PhD

Libraries are one of the most overlooked yet lucrative markets to sell your books and eBooks!

While traveling, I stopped at a few local libraries. They all purchased my three-year-old book.

I received checks within two weeks, and those books that will never get returned. Later I discovered that my book was checked out. So fun!

I took my mom, a senior citizen with her first self-published children’s book, around to the local libraries. She sold eleven books. Off to a great start!

It amazes me that we hear so much about getting your book on Kindle, but not much about getting books into over 120,000 US libraries.

It could be because people think it’s hard to get their book into libraries. And it is.

That is if you don’t know how the libraries work. It’s like going to Vegas and not knowing the rules of gambling. You may get lucky, but chances are you’ll lose your money and it’ll be a bad experience.

Here are a few tips get started in learning the library system:

1. Email them. Here’s what librarian buyers like to see in emails. Include:
  • Your book’s ISBN
  • How they can buy it. Do you have a distributor, or do they buy from you?
  • Their price.
  • Do you have any reviews? It’s helpful to have that.
  • List size and page count. If it’s an oversized book, they need to know that.
Here are general points they want for your emails:
  • Keep your emails brief.
  • Have white space in between SHORT paragraphs. Long paragraphs with no white space look too overwhelming to read, and in the trash they go.
  • Edit your email so it’s concise and to the point, but still friendly. As Mark Twain supposedly said, “If I had more time, I would have written less.”
  • Personalize your email. Find something about their city, library, or anything that seems like you’re writing a personal email to them.

2. Do virtual library speech, or even a virtual video tour. Now you can speak to library groups all over the country—virtually without leaving your home!

Virtual library video meetings are the latest thing, and a HUGE opportunity for you.

For example, in the suburbs of Chicago, three libraries simultaneously used an interactive webinar to virtually host Adriana Trigiani, the author of The Shoemaker’s Wife.

Here’s how it worked.  Adriana and the three libraries were hooked up with their own Webcams. Each library was able to see and hear all four Webcams on one big screen at the same time. Adriana, via her Webcam from her office in her laundry room in New York, was able to interact with all three libraries at once.

Adriana did an interactive virtual meeting with library patrons in a different state without leaving her home. How cool is that!

What’s the cost for all this amazing technology?

It’s free!

The library used the GoToMeeting.com free 30-day trial. Up to six Webcams can be streamed at once.

There are numerous other free and easy to use options such as Google Hangouts and Skype.

Authors have shared how the libraries have given them good PR by promoting their library events for them. This promotion proved so popular that three libraries had a waiting list.

Libraries are starting to have virtual meetings with out of town authors allowing local people to communicate with the author who is onscreen. The author can see hear, and speak to them, but can’t shake their hands.

3. Looks matter! They do take self-published books now, but they want those books to look just like the big time publisher books. If the cover or layout looks unprofessional, chances are they won’t buy it.

Proofread your book many times. If a librarian buyer sees typos, or bad grammar—that’s a deal breaker.

Libraries now have eBooks too! (Checking out eBooks from your computer saves you money, and no more late fees, since there’s nothing to return.)

In summary, it’s a terrific time to get your books and eBooks into libraries.

Learn many more secrets on why librarians choose books—including self-published books and eBooks with this one-of-a-kind library course. It includes:
  • Audio interviews with librarian buyers on why they buy and don’t buy books
  • A 100+ page eBook
  • Author interviews on ways they got their books into libraries
Whether you're a published OR self-published, watch your books fly ON the shelves.

This easy, comprehensive course that contains everything you need to know is now on sale.

“Check out” this course now before this awesome sale is “overdue.” Here's the link:

Elaine Wilkes, PhD, is a published and self-published author. Her award winning book, Nature's Secret Messages, was awarded Publishers Weekly rare star recommendation. Her latest book, 101 Awesome Things to Do for Someone Who's Sick, is now on an introductory sale. Finally, cool stuff to help someone who's sick! http://www.101AwesomeThings.com 

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Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Discover Productive Reading

In the life of every writer, there are seasons. Like I mentioned yesterday, I have been traveling and not writing. Yet I have been reading books, learning and absorbing information. 

What actions do you take when you read a book? Anything? For many years I read many books but did nothing productive or proactive with that reading. Today I want to give you some ideas of action steps to be more productive with your reading.

The first step is to have a consistent reading plan. Each evening I read for at least 15 minutes and often 30 to 45 minutes. Sometimes I'm reading a novel. Other days I'm reading a nonfiction book. I read in a variety of genres and types of books.

After I've read completed a book and before I start a new book, I go to my computer and write a short review of this book. These book reviews are a great way to capture some of the information you've learned from your reading.

At some point (often during the reading process), I go to Amazon and search for the book. I have a file with a list of books that I'm reading with short links using Bitly.com. I recommend you register or sign into Bitly.com, then you can keep your short links in one place online.

In the last few days, I read a new book and will be writing my review for this book later today, then posting it on Amazon. This book has been out since mid-2012. No one has written a single customer review. Every day people are making book buying decisions from these customer reviews. I've written over 450 customer reviews. It didn't happen overnight but happened through consistently reading, then writing about the books on Amazon.

After writing my review, I tell people about my review through social media like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. My Twitter following is over 78,000 now and my Facebook friends are over 4,700 and my LinkedIn connections are over 3,100. This step tells many people about my review. As a reminder, I believe every author should continually be expanding their connections through social media. That consistency will pay off for you. I didn't instantly achieve these numbers but have been working at them on a regular basis for years. You can do it too.

Here's the final step that I take with my productive reading: I reach out to the author or publicist for the book to tell them about my review and how I've told other people. I don't have a connection to the author or publicist for every book that I read but many of them I do have this connection. It confirms my involvement as a journalist and an author of reviews. It shows I care about their book and I'm spreading the word that others need to read the book as well.

These actions are not time consuming yet the consistency and regular nature of it pays off. I'm doing much more than simply reading book after book. I hope I've stirred some ideas for your reading habits. 

How are you being productive with your reading?

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Monday, October 14, 2013

When You Fall Off Your Horse...

…get right back on it. It works with riding horses and it works in the writing world as well. Yes you can choose to walk away from a horse and never get on one again. Yet to become a successful horse handler, you have to return to the saddle, conquer your fears and keep on riding.

It is the same in the writing world. If you want to publish, you have to continue writing. The words don't magically appear on the screen but you have to sit down in your chair, put your fingers on the keyboard and continue to write and tell stories.
Over the last few weeks, I've not been posting articles about The Writing Life. I've missed writing these entries and with this post, I'm getting back on track with them. I've been on the road speaking at two different conferences in Wisconsin and Texas. 

Plus I've been on the phone and emailing different authors about their specific projects with Morgan James Publishing. I'm happy to report that wonderful books are being published through Morgan James and authors are getting their books out into the marketplace. 

In about ten days, I head to Author 101 University in Las Vegas. If you are going to be at this event, then I look forward to seeing you there. If not, I encourage you to begin planning now to attend the next one in Los Angeles in early March 2014. We expect 400 to 500 people at Author 101 and lots of great networking and teaching and learning happens at these events. 

If you've taken a break from your writing and not been published recently, what can you to do start again? First, it's OK not to be writing all the time. Give yourself this permission. When I was not writing, I have been reading different books, attending workshops and taking in information. It's hard to give out day in your writing day after day without filling up with new information. Reading good books can be a critical part of your every day growth plan.

Second, when you have stopped writing, start again. Like the old cowboy who has been bucked off his horse, you dust yourself off, put your fingers on the keyboard and begin writing again. While my work hasn't appeared here, I have been meeting other deadlines such as my column Book Proposal Boot Camp for the Southern Writers Magazine (an excellent bi-monthly publication).

If you quit and walk away from publishing or writing, then that is a valid choice. It is not where I've been living and breathing for over 20 years.

If you have gotten bogged down with writing a long piece of writing such as a novel or nonfiction book, I encourage you to write shorter magazine articles. A change of pace is good for any writer. If you haven't written any magazine articles or need a refresher, I encourage you to read this article that I pulled together on this topic.

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