Have still not quite finished the Tom Baker essays, mostly because I realized I’d forgotten to do the commissioned essays from the Kickstarter, so those ate some week. One more, I think. /checks the Kickstarter again. Ah. Bugger. Two more. Oh well.
TG, back on the self-publishing post, left a wonderfully helpful and interesting comment about self-publishing and libraries. It was a perspective I hadn’t really seen, so I’m reposting it here:
First, these can be taken to apply to larger public library systems. Some of this may not apply to smaller districts–especially those are severely underfunded.
Follow all of Phil’s advice above. Think of libraries like bookstores–you’re competing for space with the output of the established publishers. And despite the long-predicted death of print, there are a lot of great books coming out every year. Even in a library people aren’t going to pick up your book if it looks amateurish. Especially when it’s sitting on display next to the latest release from Harcourt or McSweeney’s. We are only going to buy what we think will check out.
For fiction writers, you’re best off sticking with your local/regional libraries. Despite what a publicist might tell you, there’s little point in mailing off copies of your book to libraries around the country. The only self-published novels I’m going to even look at are from local authors. Besides wanting to support our local writing community, it’s also an effective way of narrowing down what we consider.
For non-fiction–if it’s a memoir or very regionally-focused, the same as above. For niche subjects such as in-depth analysis of Doctor Who or MLP–those sorts of things we’re interested in. The best way to get it to our attention is get it into a trusted review source. Your best bet is Kirkus– they review indie/self-published books and are closely read by librarians. Publishers Weekly also has a “Select” program you can submit your books to for possible coverage and review.
You don’t need to give us a copy of your book. (And if you do, don’t expect it back.) If we want your book in our collection, we will buy it. Librarians support authors! Promotional materials are sufficient. Just do your research and try to send it to the right person or department. When in doubt, send it to “Acquisitions.” Also research the collection–are there other materials like or related to your book? For example– does the library have Doctor Who on DVD? Is it just the new series or do they have the old episodes, too?
Research suggests that libraries help drive book sales. Getting your book into a library exposes it to a large, diverse population of readers. It’s worth the extra trouble to try.
Finally, Last War in Albion. We’ve hit the end of the first chapter, and of the essays I’ve prepared. I’ve started work on Chapter 2, but it’s not quite ready to go up Thursday, though once it starts I intend to keep Last War in Albion as a weekly feature. This amounts to a bit of stubbornness on my part – readership numbers on it are not great (though those who like it are quite happy with it), and I’ve decided to just keep posting it in the hopes that it grows momentum.
Nevertheless, this is the period where it’s likely to be tinkered with, so if you have any comments or insights on how it should be improved, please do share them. I’m both proud of it and really enjoying it, but now that it’s had some time to unfold and give a sense of what it’s doing, I’d love to know what people think, good or bad.
Sunday Pancacking to inevitably follow when we get an announcement about something at Comic-Con.