These days we authors should be loving libraries, and if not loving them, at least courting them. Not merely because libraries have shelves that hold our books and services that loan out our ebooks. We should love libraries because many of them have made it a common practice to host author talks. Just like our beloved indie bookstores, libraries are intent on increasing traffic.
Who frequents libraries? Readers. Who do readers love? Authors. What do authors love to talk about and sell? Their books.
Could this cycle have LOVE stamped on it any clearer?
Here are some tips for scheduling a library presentation.
- Plan in advance.
Find out how far in advance your local library schedules events. The Denver Library, for instance, is booking authors six to 12 months in advance. I’m heading to the Cedarburg Public Library the first Saturday of December to give a presentation about The Horse Lover; an event scheduled back in August.
- Pitch local media.
Newspapers, TV, and radio often like to support libraries. For the Cedarburg talk, I pitched the local paper about eight weeks in advance. “Thank you for giving us plenty of notice,” the reporter said. The story just came out.
- Contact Friends of the Library groups.
These are the fundraising arms of libraries, which often sponsor luncheons and special programs. Who best to speak at such events? Why an author, of course!
- Also contact retirement community libraries.
Here in Tucson we have two major retirement communities. Both have libraries, each supported by Friends of the Library. Two Friends from one of the communities attended a presentation that my co-author, Alan Day, and I did at our local library. After the talk, they asked us if we would speak at their annual luncheon. Attendance: 300 readers. Happiness is.
So after your next morning coffee, head over to your local library and ask to speak with the events coordinator. Bring a review copy of your book. For libraries located beyond driving distance, give a call. Again, ask for the events person, and if possible, get that person’s email. A pitch by email is another way to make contact.
And remember, librarians talk among themselves, so in addition to putting your best writing forward, put your best author-foot forward too, one that leaves a lasting, positive impression and results in future invitations to speak.