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Libraries are where the readers are, so it makes sense for the author to speak at libraries. If an avid reader meets an author and halfway enjoys the book, that author has a fan for life. And some libraries pay authors for speaking engagements.

Yes some library patrons—like my mother—will never buy a book. She reads so much—forty books a week—she could never afford to buy enough books. But some library patrons are book buyers. And on top of that, libraries are book buyers. I know of some authors and publishers who purposefully pursue sales to libraries. 

To some authors, this doesn’t make sense. You sell one to three books and depending on the size of the library—hundreds or thousands read your book for free. But think about how many libraries there are in the world. Some of those library patrons aren’t book buyers and will never read your book unless they can find it at the library. If they like your book, they’ll tell their friends and family—who might be book buyers.

There are also book clubs at libraries. I read in Writer’s Digest Magazine a few years ago about a man who put his e-mail on the back of his book with an offer to speak to book clubs for free. He started out with local book club speaking engagements, then branched out to travel and phone conferences, and sold a ton of books in the process.

Some publishers give lots of free author copies for promotion. Find a local book club and give them each a copy, then come to their group meeting for discussion. Readers love discussing books with the author and there’s never enough time at book signings for in depth discussion.

I’ve spoken at two libraries and am scheduled for another soon. At one, not one person bought a book, but the library paid me for coming. At the other, I sold thirty-something books. Guess which one I’m calling now that I have a new book out?

  1. Illene Stewart11-04-11

    Let me know. Maybe it’s in my area.

  2. Sheila Covey11-05-11

    I borrow books from libraries to see whether or not I will like the authors work and whether or not I want to purchase the book for my own library–which I do a lot. It really saves me time, money, and space. And many people will buy book/books to read and then donate their copy/copies to the library.

  3. Jenny Carlisle11-08-11

    Amen, Sheila. I’ve discovered so many new authors at the Library. Then, when I have an extra nickel (LOL) at the book store, I have new names to look for. Speaking at the library is a great way to become known in the community. Thanks for the reminder to contact mine!

  4. Shannon Taylor Vannatter11-08-11

    A couple of hours from you, Illene. Actually, this time it’s a book club. My first. Looking forward to it.

    I do that too. I buy more books than I used to.

    You go girl.

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