Is there anything better than leaving the library with a big ol’ stack of reading material? Free books, so magical! As a reader, I love the library. As an author, I was unsure how to get my book into the system. I knew I wanted to make it available to check out, but how?
In July, I attended a presentation at the Pacific Northwest Writer’s Association conference that answered this question for me! Different libraries have slightly different ways of doing things, but there are basically two tracks.
1. Print books: First, check your library’s website. Many allow you to request to add a book to the catalog. For instance, I went into the Seattle Public Library system and requested that Moonburner be added. I fessed up that I was the author, and let them know that I thought that family and friends in the area would appreciate being able to access the book through the library system. Voila! They ordered four copies.
Alternately, your library might have a staff-person who handles acquisitions. If this is the case, check on the website or give them a call to see who you should send your request to, and what materials they would like. For instance, I sent the King County Library System a request to add my book, which included the pertinent details (title, publisher, publication date, genre, ISBN, distributor), sell sheet, and links to a few professional reviews. That was all it took for the system to order five copies to add to the collection. Woot!
Libraries will be much more likely to add your book if you are distributed through one of the main distributors (Ingram or Baker & Taylor) and if you have at least one review from a trade publication like Kirkus Reviews, School Library Journal, or Publisher’s Weekly. They rely on these reviews to know that your book is worth adding, so if you can snag at least one and include it with your materials, it will make a big difference.
You might think it will just be easier to donate a few copies of your book. Not so! It turns out that these folks don’t really want you to donate your book. Especially if you qualify under the criteria I just mentioned, they want to buy it! It’s much easier for them to process. If you are self-published, reach out to the acquistions folks before you donate to see how to make their life easier. They might want particular format or materials from you.
2. eBooks: What about eBooks? There are two main systems libraries are using to bring ebooks to their patrons. The first is Overdrive, the second is Self-e. Overdrive is definitely the bigger player. Getting into Overdrive is largely up to your publisher. However, if you self-publish through Smashwords, you may be able to get into this system thanks to a recent partnership. Check out this article for more info.
Some libraries, like the King County Library System here in Seattle, also supply patrons access to a service called Self-e (you may also see it called BiblioBoard on the library website). Self-e has different state collections that allow users in those states to access eBooks. If you upload your book to Self-e (it’s super easy) readers in your state can borrow as many copies of your book as they want. Unlike Overdrive, that gives a library a license for one copy (and if the copy is checked out, everyone else has to wait in the hold line), Self-e allows an unlimited number of readers to borrow your book at the same time. So, if there is a lot of demand, your readers won’t have to wait!
Here are some other great articles detailing how to get your books into libraries:
The Book Designer
While we’re on the subject of libraries, did you know that Saturday, October 8 is Indie Author Day? Libraries all across the country will be hosting author events featuring local indie authors! I will be at the King County Service Center at 960 Newport Way NW, Issaquah, WA 98027, from 10-3, along with other awesome local authors! Get all the details here.
Featured image by Thomas Hawk, https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/
Hi, I’m Claire. I like to color inside the lines. Writing my first young adult fantasy novel has one proverbial scribble across the page of life…and you know what? It feels pretty good!
I grew up in (and still live) the Pacific Northwest, which I analogize to a dysfunctional relationship. Nine months out of the year, you wonder why the heck you stick with this person when they treat you like crap, but once summer arrives, and the sun hits the snow-capped peaks of the Olympics and glints off the blue water of Puget Sound, you know you could never, ever leave. Most of my hobbies revolve around being outside and enjoying my lovely home state of Washington.
So, what should you know about me? I’m a disciplined, Type-A, achieving type. Ergo, I went to law school. I hate the sight of blood, so a law degree was the obvious choice. Currently, I’m a commercial litigation lawyer at a mid-sized law firm. That means I fight over money for a living. I do a lot of work helping banks get money back when people don’t pay their loans, which is just as un-sexy as it sounds. But I do get to write a lot. Way more than you would think! Which is the best part of being a lawyer. I also get to be in court, which, though it’s nothing like tv, is still an adrenaline rush and pretty fun. I get to say things like “I object, your honor.” So it has that going for it.
But I’m also a millennial. Which means that I want my profession to fill me with meaning and inspiration! I want to “have it all.” And helping banks get their money back from people, though important and necessary to an orderly working of society, isn’t always as inspirational and meaningful as you might think. Shock, I know.
Which brings me to my author alter ego. I’ve always loved to read. When I was a kid, my mom had to limit my weekly library haul to 20ish books, because that was all we could carry. It was tough to choose just 20 books for the week, but what can I say, I suffered through it. So when I was pondering what to do with my life if I wasn’t practicing law, being a fiction writer was the obvious choice. And, because us millennials have been told we can be an astronaut dinosaur or whatever we want to be when we grow up, when faced with my new-found revelation, I said: I’m going to do that. Be an author. But of course I still need to make money (see above re: coloring in the lines), so I decided to both.
It’s almost exactly two years since I decided to write my first novel. I had no experience or background in writing novels. I did a lot of google research. I still do a lot of google research. I discovered a lot of surprising things about my process. (What, I’m a pantser? How is that possible? I’m such a control freak!) I tried to take it one layer at a time. Step one: Figure out plot! Step two: characters? How do I do those? And so on. I wish I had more time to study craft or get some more formal training. But my time is limited, so I have chosen to learn by doing.
To date, I’ve written two novels, one of which is being published this month, and a prequel novella which I am giving away for free if you sign up for my mailing list at www.claireluana.com (a little plug there!). Moonburner, my debut YA Fantasy novel, is being published through Soul Fire Press, a division of Christopher Matthews Publishing. CMP and Soul Fire are hybrid publishers, and I’ve had a really positive experience. I decided to go the indie route mostly because I am impatient. I didn’t want to wait years to get an agent, then more years to find a publisher, with no actual promise of either. The hybrid route has been great for me because I got the nice ego-stroking of someone saying “this is good,” (hey, you totally need that as a first-time author!) and I didn’t have to spend the time to hire all my own freelancers and figure out the self-publishing process. Just figuring out how to launch a book is stressful enough!
Time definitely comes at a premium for me. It’s a constant struggle to find time to write and edit on top of a full time job. Sometimes it is discouraging when I have to pass up fun activities or sunny days to sit in and write, but giving it up isn’t an option! It’s that thing they say about finding your passion, right? (Which mostly just makes people working jobs they don’t like feel even more depressed about not finding that magical unicorn job.) But…I think there is something to it. Even when I am most grumpy and resentful of my author obligations, I still LOVE it.
I know so many other authors out there feel the same way. They are slaving away at two jobs, getting up at 5 am to write before the kids wake up, staying up late to market or help each other out. There is a community and camaraderie about the indie author scene that is fantastic. So kudos to all of you. I can’t wait to meet more of you, and I’m happy to be among your ranks!
Occasionally I post features and interviews with different authors I’ve met in my online adventures. I’m pleased to introduce Mandy Eve-Barnett, author of novels and children’s books, through the interview below!
Interview with Multi-Genre Author Mandy Eve-Barnett
How many books have you written?
In total, I have written six books, two children’s and four adult. I also co-wrote two, one an anthology and the other a guidebook for memoir writing.
Which is your favorite? Is there one book in particular you have written that has a special place in your heart? Please share why.
A difficult question as they are all special in different ways. If I only wrote one genre, it would be easier to choose. Rumble’s First Scare is special because it was the first one, but Ockleberries to the Rescue reflects the wonder of the natural world, which was encouraged by my parents and passed down to my children. My adult romance time slip, The Twesome Loop, as yet unpublished is a favorite because it incorporates reincarnation, which is a lifelong fascination for me.
Do you have a specific writing style?
The short answer is no; I enjoy testing my writing skills with multiple genres and styles. I have written speculative fiction, fantasy, romance, suspense, and business writing as well.
What does fantasy enable you to do in your writing that other genres do not?
It is escapism in its purest form. There are no barriers, ideas, or concepts that cannot be created. Although the ‘worlds’ and ‘creatures’ must have their own rules, within the story’s plot, fantasy allows me to experiment without limits to my imagination.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
When an idea comes to mind, I begin writing without any planning or plotting. It is free flowing concept from mind to finger tip.
Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
To be honest from anywhere and everywhere, overheard conversations, a photograph, a news story even prompts.
When did you write your first book and how old were you?
Rumble’s First Scare formed from a Halloween prompt as a short story. With some persuasion, I refined it and had illustrations created to enable Rumble to become a children’s picture book. I was early fifties!
Why did you begin writing?
When I immigrated to Canada, I promised myself a creative outlet. When I was younger, I tried out lots of crafts from pottery to painting to textiles, for whatever reason I never really dappled in writing. One short story was about it. I found a leaflet at the local library for a writers group and decided to attend a meeting. As the saying goes, I was hooked.
What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
With such a broad spectrum of genres, I have discovered each genre has its own rules and researching for the stories has uncovered some surprising topics – strict for research purposes only you understand. One such example – how does a body desiccate?
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
When am wrestled away from my writing, I enjoy time with my family and friends, mini vacations and writing retreats. However, writing is usually my constant companion.
What book are you reading now?
I just finished Finders Keepers by Stephen King, The Lake House by Kate Morton and as my library visit is not until later in the week I am re-reading Stig of the Dump by Clive King, a childhood favorite. I find returning to favorites evokes an innocence in my Muse and therefore inspires my imagination.
Tell us your latest writing news?
Last year I set myself a goal to complete two manuscripts by the end of 2015. Both were the culmination of NaNoWriMo madness. Some may say it is difficult to write and revise one manuscript let alone two but, as the genres were vastly different it was easy to switch back and forth. One is a western romance, Willow Tree Tears now submitted to Harlequin. The other, a suspense novel called The Giving Thief, is now in the hands of a beta reader. During the year, a chance Steampunk contest gave me the opportunity to submit a short story, now contracted for an anthology.
Do you have any new books in the works?
Always! The final edit of my suspense novel, The Giving Thief, has gone to beta readers. I will return to The Twesome Loop, a time-slip romance and a speculative fiction, Life in Slake Patch. These two novels have been on the back burner for some time and need to be completed. I also have a new children’s story formulating in my mind and have made copious notes on it already.
What advice would you give for amateur writers who are just starting to dabble in the world of creative writing?
Trust your instincts and allow your ideas to formulate without comparing it to preconceived impressions of what you should or should not write. Your writing is personal, special to you. Don’t restrict yourself in your creativity. Find a constructive critique-writing group, where you can share your words without fear of being pigeonholed and have positive support.
Where can readers find you online?
I connect with other authors, and readers to share my writing journey on my blog, www.mandyevebarnett.com. I use Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+ for announcing future events, book readings and special contests and progress on projects.