Sunday, May 01, 2011

A Valuable Free Resource for Every Writer

I will often find a book reviewed or mentioned that I would like to possibly read. During some periods of my life, I would often turn to an online bookstore or a physical bookstore and purchase that book. In these tight economic times, I tend to look in a different direction for my first course of action: the public library. Here's just a few of the ways I'm using my local library:

I have a public library near my home which I frequent several times a week. I've discovered an amazing array of movie DVDs at the library (and many of them are some of the newest releases).

I've become skilled at using their online catalog to request forthcoming books. If I read about a new novel which I'd like to read, I can often find the library has that book (or has it on order). I can get on the list of people to receive the new book when it is available.

If I look and the book isn't in the library, our library has an online system to "make a suggested purchase." It requires that I list the title, author, ISBN (International Standard Book Number) and the form that I would like the book (book, audio, etc) then the branch where I'd like to pick up the book if ordered. If my request is accepted, then I receive an email about it and I'm one of the first people to get the book when it gets into the system. Some of my requests are not accepted as well (par for the course but at least I tried). Recently I was looking for a new book from one of my American Society of Journalists and Author colleagues. It was not in the library system so I made this request and the librarian decided to order the book and I'm on the list for it. I wrote my author friend and she was naturally thrilled since I pointed a way that her book is getting into my local library system.

I enjoy listening to audio books in my car and the library is a perfect place to find some great books in this category. Last week I noticed some inexpensive audio books the Friends of the Library were offering. I've been wanting to read Barbara Walters' bestselling memoir, Ambition. I purchased the audio book for the grand sum of $3 and the audio for a Michael Connelly novel, The Fifth Witness that is currently on the bestseller list. I bought the audio for $8--at the public library.

As an author, I'm always interested to see if my books are in the public library. For my local librarian, I asked the name of the person in charge of the collection then called her and introduced myself. I offered to send a few of my bestselling books to the library (without charge). She wanted the books to put into the collection and explained how to get them to her. I followed her instructions and a few months later my books were in the public library system. Now I know we can't give our books away to every library but in a few cases like this one, it makes sense. If you donate books in my library without going to this extra effort, then the books are put in the "Friends of the Library" section and sold to the public. They don't accomplish my goal of getting them into the library collection. Make sure you investigate if you want to get them into the library collection.

If you want to know more about how to sell your books into the public library, I have a free teleseminar that I did with one of my author friends, Max Davis who has sold his book into over 3,000 public libraries. He gives the full details in the teleseminar so I hope you will listen to it. I will probably be changing this teleseminar soon but for now it is available and a great resource to learn about selling your book into the public library.

Do not overlook this valuable writing resource. Begin using it on a regular basis and you will be surprised at what you will gain.

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