Secrets to Getting Your Book into University Libraries, Bookstores and More



Q&A A La Ann Landers

Getting Your Book into Campus Libraries and More!
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QUESTION

Re university bookstores:
 I know that Random House had my book in their catalog targeting educational sellers. Is there more than that I can do? How would I 
1. identify them and
2. approach them?
             
ANSWER
I'm going to use my husband's experience with his What Foreigners Need to Know About America from A to Z as an example because he was so successful with it. 

He put together a form letter (which he tweaks) depending on who he is sending it to. He goes online and finds areas on campus that could use his book. That includes 
1. Libraries
2. International Student Programs 
3. International Student Course Teachers 
4. Campus Bookstore Buyers
5. ESL classes through extension

He spends about 30 minutes a day sending the letter to the correct person when possible. Sometimes that's only one contact. Some days, when research goes well, it's three or four.  He's had some amazing successes like having his book chosen as gifts/recommendations by the university that hosts the Fulbright Scholars in the US each summer. There is a cost to it beyond time. He offers a free book to those influencers who show an interest, but these most often don't result in single book sales, either. The top sale we could trace to his letters (it's sometimes easier for self-published authors to trace sales to a specific effort) was 59 copies. 

Be aware, that if you find an instructor who recommends your book or uses is at class reading, the bookstore often stocks the book automatically. But not always. It doesn’t hurt to mention in a separate query or phone call that your book was ordered for a specific class or that Professor X showed an interest in your book.  

One more secret. He keeps at it. 

Here’s an alternative that isn't as frugal and not as effective because the contact is not personal (but it’s a lot less time-consuming!):

 IBPA (Independent Book Publishers Association) had a catalog that they send out to libraries, a separate one to university libraries and one to reviewers.  I've used that program. It can be good...or not. Depending on the title. 
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Carolyn Howard-Johnson brings her experience as a publicist, journalist, marketer, and retailer to the advice she gives in her HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers and the many classes she taught for nearly a decade as instructor for UCLA Extension’s world-renown Writers’ Program. All her books for writers are multi award winners including the first edition of The Frugal Book Promoter published in 2003. Her The Frugal Editor, now in its second edition, won awards from USA Book News, Readers’ Views Literary Award, the marketing award from Next Generation Indie Books and others including the coveted Irwin award.

Howard-Johnson is the recipient of the California Legislature’s Woman of the Year in Arts and Entertainment Award, and her community’s Character and Ethics award for her work promoting tolerance with her writing. She was also named to Pasadena Weekly’s list of “Fourteen San Gabriel Valley women who make life happen” and was given her community’s Diamond Award for Achievement in the Arts. 


The author loves to travel. She has visited eighty-nine countries and has studied writing at Cambridge University in the United Kingdom; Herzen University in St. Petersburg, Russia; and Charles University, Prague. She admits to carrying a pen and journal wherever she goes. Her Web site is www.howtodoitfrugally.com.

1 comment:

  1. Carolyn, thanks for sharing such helpful tips on getting books into university libraries and bookstores! It shows that with a some work you can definitely see results.

    ReplyDelete

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