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5 Tips to Make Your Book "Library Ready "📚

DID YOU KNOW? It's harder for self-published or indie authors to get their books into the library catalog? Some library policies block our access... but here's 5 tips to remove the blockers!


Click here to watch 10 minutes with actionable steps to get into public libraries!





Hi everyone, this is Shermaine Perry-Knights, again of Amazingly Published, so I'm back with another really short video. I don't want to date this, so I will just tell you in general. I've been asked a lot more recently, how do you make your books library ready? I have my books in a couple dozen libraries across the United States and in some other countries as well, in the public library system, not just in the school media centers of the school libraries and I have come across some really concrete things that every author needs to know to have their books library ready. Okay? The first thing is do not walk into a library and say buy my book. That's the first thing. The approach. You want to come in confidently and you want to be very respectful to whoever you encounter and you want to create a partnership, not a transaction. Relationships should be conversational, not transactional. Right? And that means that I'm only kind to you if you're doing something for me. It's a true partnership where we are both talking, you know, in tandem, and we are both working together for the common goal. So you want to find out what their local initiatives are, whatever the county's initiatives are, regarding that public library system, and see how your book can tie into that. So that's the first thing, build the relationships. That's how you make your book library ready.


The second thing is the format. I have been told by several librarians, we only take hardcover books. Well, for some people, that's true, but not always. So I will tell you this one here is a paperback book. This is library ready. Okay Paperbacks can live in the library. Hello. They've been doing it for a very long time paperbacks to live in library But I will tell you that most libraries prefer hardcover books And they'll tell you why they prefer hardcover books because they last longer they will live on past Different patrons bringing them in and out and dropping them and playing with them the hardcover is a protectant, if you will, to the actual book itself. So they prefer hardcover books, but they will take paperback books depending on the genre and what the collection is in need of. So that's the second thing is know your formats. I like to tell people provide your book in paperback and hardcover. You need to have more than one format to make your book library ready. If you say, Oh, I just have an eBook Shermaine. That is wonderful. There are systems like Sora and Libby and several others. An overdrive where libraries are able to purchase your eBook and have it available in the public library system. So that's important. You can have the eBook version, have the paperback, have the hardcover, but if you only had two out of three, have the paperback and hardcover, okay? Ebooks are nice as well. That is the second thing I will tell you. It's about the format, having it available in the format that will be the most conducive to patrons, okay? Hardcover and paperback work well.


The third thing I will tell you you to make your book library ready is think about how books are on the shelf of a library. 03:25 It's pushed together here, several books around it. See the dramatic display there? And if you look very closely, I'm gonna bring it really close so you can see the words there. 03:35 Can you see that? That is what we call spine text. The text is on the spine of the book. So a book is here. 03:44 This is the front cover. This is the back cover. And this is the spine of the book. The text for the title and the author name must be on the spine. 03:55 Why? It is very helpful for cataloging. When a patron is looking for your book, or if the librarian is trying to organize your book on the shelf, they will need this. 04:06 And some additional tape and letters and numbers will go there for the organization of it. So that's really important. That's the third thing. 04:13 You want to have your text on the spine. If you say, Srimay, I don't have that on my book, and it goes in library just fine, that worked for you, but that is not the standard. 04:22 You want to have the spine on the text, okay? So that is our third thing. The fourth, I will tell you, is one of the most important pieces to me. 04:31 You want to make sure you have your ISBN number on the back. You see that looks like a serial number. 04:36 On other products it's called a UPC, but on books it's called an ISBN. It's like international standard of something number, ISBN. 04:46 And in other countries it's referred to differently, but the United States it's called ISBN. And it's a little tiny serial number if you can see that. 04:54 For the back of your book. It is simply saying, this is the book's social security number so they know exactly what it is and they can search it in different systems to find out all of the metadata or the information that they need to know around your book. So that is the fourth thing.


The fifth and final thing that I believe makes your book library ready is a professionally edited book, okay? I'm talking about a book that is free of grammatical errors that includes punctuation, misspelled words. And just overall lack of a polishing. So you want to make sure that your book is professionally edited. This book that I'm showing you is called Creative Genius. This is short stories for boys. So there's about six short stories in here. Each of them are professionally edited. It's about 300 words each of their illustrations and words on 70 some odd pages. So with a professional editing, you want to make sure that your book is the best possible because young readers or more seasoned readers over a certain age are able to enjoy the full book if it is professionally edited. If you say, oh, I just had my friend read it, and they said it was good, that's nice. And it's a compliment to you, but you want to have a professional editor read your book and edit it because that is going to make it library ready. Remember, you want to put your best foot forward when you're trying to do business with your public library system.


If your book has illustrations, you want to make sure that the illustrations are relevant, that they are culturally diverse. That's always a great thing. That they are sensitive to the needs of communities and they are factual, right? Things that are inherent of biases, things that aren't offensive to anyone. All of those things have their place, but in the public library system, because it is the center of our communities, we want to make sure those honor people and they honor their experiences and it's not anything that is derogatory. Have illustrations. You want to make sure the color is vibrant. You want to make sure the illustration extends across the entire page top and bottom to make it library ready. So those are the things that I list as being library ready and I will also tell you that you want to have a very short but informative book description on the back. Very, very important. Now these are the short but yet powerful ways that you can make your book library ready to now reach out to your local public library systems and those in other states and other cities and across the world.


I will tell you my last and most favorite thing that you want to do. You want to make sure that you are asking the library system for their Collection Development policy. Let me say that again. Collection Development Policy. Every entity has one. So if it is the library system for the county, there is one belonging to that county library system. If it's for the city, there is one that will govern all the public libraries underneath that city. Okay. Each state is a little different. Each city and each county is a little different. So ask for a copy of their collection development policy. Having that, that is literally the blueprint to find out what books are accepted in that catalog, as well as what it. Should look like, what are their do's and don'ts, if they accept self-published authors, if they do not, what they, it's probably the blueprint of what they can and can't have in there, okay? So that is a like a secret gem that I want you to know. Once you have that collection development policy, you can move forward to still getting your book in there by creating a partnership. Remember have conversation with them, and I would say pitch a program so that you are not just reading the book. Students and families, but a workshop around the important topic that can uplift the community.


The last thing I will say here is if you are able to get your book cataloged, having your book cataloged in the world cat, that's worldcat.org, that makes it easier for libraries to put it on their shelves. They may love your book, but if your book is not cataloged, that puts you much further back in the pile of books that want to get on the shelf. Because it's a process that has to happen for them and have all the information in the system in order to say, aha, we can put this on the shelf. If your book is not cataloged, it makes it a lot harder for librarians to do that. And there are not as many catalogers as you think. It's a really refined skill within the library system and everybody is not able to do this, everyone is not trained to do this, or has access to the program to catalog your book. So it's really important that you get a catalog. Do you do that? You can ask your local library system to catalog it, but I will also let you know.


Respond to this video, leave a comment in it in the space, and I will tell you some of the easy catalogers that you can reach out to to get your book catalog. But they will look at these same things. Is it professionally edited? Are the illustrations culturally relevant? Are they enhancing? Are they supportive? Are they uplifting? All of that is important. Do you have spine text? Do you have a serial number for your book known as ISBN? Is there a very cohesive yet simple description on it? All of these things are really important and the format, right? And the formatting. You cannot just put anything out there and hope that the library is going to pick it up. Remember we want to put our best foot forward when we are trying to do business with and have our books on the shelves of the public library system. So by for now, I know this was a little bit long, but this was perfect for what you need to know and reach out to me because we have a program here in Amazingly Publish where you create a workshop and lesson plans so that you can truly have the most out of your partnership and create a program for when you are wanting to work with the libraries. Talk to you later bye for now

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I would love for you to contact me with resources to have my book catalogued. Thank you for this informative article.

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This is excellently written! It’s filled with so many nuggets. I would add that it’s important to have your books professionally reviewed by places like Kirkus. Id also add that it’s important to have a one pager that describes that high level insights and highlights of your book.

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