Since April is Drop Everything and Read month, it got me thinking about how supporting my local library supports my favourite authors. I love using the library it saves me a ton of money every year, but I also want to support my favourite authors so they keep creating amazing stories.
Best I can tell, there are two main ways supporting your local library helps support your favourite authors: royalties and exposure. When authors sell books they receive royalties. This goes for both traditionally published authors and self-published authors. Libraries buy books through publishers, therefore traditionally published authors receive royalties from those sales to libraries.
Self-published authors can get their books in libraries through their distributor of choice, or through OverDrive, the world's largest collection of ebooks. There are also several ways to get your print books in libraries as a self-published author. Check out this article from the writing cooperative for more information if you'd like to investigate getting your books into libraries.
Why get your books into libraries?
The first reason to get your books into libraries is obvious. I've already mentioned that authors receive royalties on books that libraries buy from their publishers or distributors. These royalties may not be as high as book sales directly to readers, because libraries typically will buy fewer copies. But, if the librarian believes your book will be popular, they will order several copies and maybe even several cases.
The second reason you want to get your books into libraries is for exposure. Having your book in the library gives readers a chance to try it out and see what they think of your story and your writing style. If they enjoy the book, there's a good chance that they will tell their friends and maybe some of them will buy your book your book.
There is also a chance that someone will read your book, become a fan and want to buy the next book you publish. People are always looking for new books to read a new authors to follow.
While you can get a lot of exposure by having your book available in libraries, it's also important that you get exposure in order to attract the attention of a librarian. Librarians often base their book orders on the reviews of the book. This is why it's so important to get book reviews.
I haven’t talked much about book reviews, but one way to get reviews is to remember to ask. If someone tells you they enjoyed your book, make sure you ask them if they'd be willing to provide a review. There are lots of other strategies for getting book reviews. I like the ideas Dave Chesson discusses in this article on his website, Kindlepreneur.
Next time you get a book out of the library, you don’t have to feel guilty about not supporting the author by purchasing their book, because borrowing their book is another way you can support them. Thanks to Joan Dempsey, author of This is How it Begins, for pointing this out to me.
Remember, if you like a book, be sure to leave a review and tell everyone you know!