I suggest that authors look to promote their books, whether fiction or nonfiction, at libraries. Some libraries will pay writers to come and speak; others will at least provide writers with exposure to the reading public. Not all libraries welcome authors but there are many that do. As a former librarian and teacher, I can testify to the fact that authors are welcome to provide an event at many libraries. Books are an important component of what the library has to offer. Authors are respected by most librarians.
If you are a relatively unknown writer, try to get a local newspaper to do a story on you before your library appearance. Also, if you’re not Nora Roberts or Mary Higgins Clark, don’t expect people to come in droves just because you announce a book signing. Think in terms of what kind of event you can provide that library patrons will enjoy and appreciate.
I presented an event at my local library entitled “We Can All Be Writers.” It was not just a talk but a happening—an interactive experience for both attendees and myself. I provided writing exercises that we could do together and discuss. I’ll also gave a hand-out listing sources of inspiration for aspiring writers as well as library resources. In short, I was offering information hopefully of value to patrons.
Fifteen people showed up who were eager to participate. When I previously did this program in
Central New Jersey, twenty-five people were present and actively
participated. However, fifteen was a comfortable group to work with and they
were very enthusiastic. I also had help from the library coordinator who turned
my overhead transparencies into a Power Point presentation.
What’s in it for you, the author? Hopefully, library patrons may want to either borrow some of your novels from the library or purchase them from you. At the very least, the library will buy your book. In my case, I offered some of my novels at a heavily discounted price and had the librarian take the money because I donated any money earned from the sale of my books to the Friends of the Library so they can continue to sponsor more events. It was my way of giving back to the community.
What is your opinion of authors doing events, talks or panel discussions at libraries? Have you participated in any library events? If so, how has it worked out? Will you consider doing it in the future?