Being the genius Being fairly adequate at marketing self-promotion, it occurred to me that if I had self-published a book, I would offer it to my local library, and to every library that responded to my inquiry emails, for free. Most self-published-authors (known as SPAs in my head) all-too-soon discover that, once their relatives and friends buy their books, their selling days are over. In fact, they will probably never sell another copy ever again. That’s what marketing departments are for, and most SPAs don’t have one.
If SPAs gave their books to as many libraries as possible, however, they might at least find readers, albeit cheap ones. Once an SPA has acknowledged that he or she isn’t going to get rich from a book, he or she will settle for readers, of any ilk.
I was on my local library’s website last night, perusing their digital library. The inventory was sparse and consisted mostly of books with lurid covers, i.e., bodice-rippers*. (A lot of SPAs write bodice-rippers. I know this from experience. At one time in my life, I had a website dedicated to self-published books [yes, I called them SPBs; amazingly, the word didn’t catch on] and the majority of the books submitted to me were bodice-rippers, followed by self-help books written mostly by people with no credentials.)
But, last night, I wasn’t in the mood for a bodice-ripper, so my choices were severely limited. But why, I wondered, was my library’s inventory so heavily weighted toward this type of romance novel? And then it hit me. I’ll bet the authors gave the library their self-published books. But then the question was: Why would a library download an unsolicited, and probably unreviewed, book and upload it to its website for borrowing? The answer was obvious: Because, as soon as everyone and his/her brother/sister/friend got a Kindle or the Kindle app, libraries needed to build digital libraries, and do it fast. Library bosses probably came in one morning and told their librarians, “I want a big digital library and I want it yesterday.” (Library bosses are so behind when it comes to the latest expressions.) So, in order to keep their jobs, the librarians probably downloaded every book link that was emailed to them. The next day, they had hundreds of e-books (out of millions of available ones, probably) ready for their patrons to borrow. And, they were mostly bodice-rippers. Because that’s what the librarians had immediate access to.
So, SPAs, get a move on. Send your book to your local library today. And to every library on the planet. Some librarian somewhere is bound to have a boss who is saying right now, “Our digital library is languishing! Get more books uploaded, and do it yesterday.” And whose book will be sitting on the library’s computer, just waiting to be uploaded? Yours. You’re welcome.
* books similar to those published by Harlequin