My Writing Week: Preparing for Reviews, Library Shelves, and Draft Two

This week has essentially been a gob more prep work for the release of The Trials of Hercules: Book One of The Osteria Chronicles. And as always, I’m taking you along the road of this process….

Getting Into the Library

As a self-publisher, you may (like me) dream of seeing your books on the shelves of certain book stores. This isn’t an unrealistic dream, but do accept the fact that most stores are going to expect you to pay them a commission and you will have to buy back any books that don’t sell – this buy back will include shipping if the store isn’t nearby.

Now, there’s nothing wrong with that, but it can be a tad bit of a hassle with contracts and contacts and all that. But, there are other shelves your books should be on. Shelves that will buy your book (possibly several copies), take no commission, and not expect any returns.

It’s called the library.

library, amsterdam, netherlands, holland, books

Inside the Amsterdam Library.

Now, I love libraries. I mean, come on, free books! Who couldn’t love that? As with all things self-publishing, you will need to do some leg work to get libraries to notice your book. But before you even begin, you need to make sure your book is listed either with Baker & Taylor, Books In Print, or Ingram, preferably all three. Many print on demand publishers will include listings with these places, but it’s always best to read the fine print. Baker & Taylor is the listing you most want to have because it’s the source most librarians go to for book shopping.

Like anyone perusing a very big catalog, librarians aren’t going to look over every listing on Baker & Taylor – they’re going to look up the ones that they’ve been made aware of. How do you make them aware? Well, here’s some tips…

  • Get your book reviewed by places that librarians trust such as Library Journal, Bloomsbury Review, Midwest Book Review, and Foreword. Reviews can take several months, so send your book at least three months before the release date.
  • Add snippets of three or four of these reviews to your promo sheet, press release, and media kit. (Of course, any non-family, non-friend review is helpful to have in your promo kit).
  • Go to your local libraries, introduce yourself as a local author to the librarians and give them a promotional sheet. Be professional, be friendly, but don’t be pushy.
  • For out-of-the-area libraries, email the librarians your press release that includes a statement letting them know the book is listed in Baker & Taylor.
  • Encourage your readers to ask their local library to purchase one of your books (hint hint to all my readers out there!).

When should you start doing this leg work? Well, you should wait until your book is available (or almost available) for purchase and until you’ve gotten some strong reviews.

Vancouver, British Columbia, library

The Vancouver, BC, Central Library.


In the meantime, compile a list of libraries with their contact info a few months before your release date. Then, start contacting libraries a week or so before your release date and continue contacting until you’ve made it it through the list. If your book can’t be pre-ordered, don’t promote it too early – even a book that sounds great may be forgotten if the librarian has to wait to order it.

Speaking of Reviews

Starting next week I’ll be following the above advice and begin sending out my books to the biggies in the review world – Library Journal, Foreword, and the like. Most of these require print copies of the books – luckily I still have copies from my aborted launch date back in March – so I need to get everything packed up with all the bells and whistles such as cover letters and promo sheets.

I’m also prepping files for online reviewers and those wonderful people who accept electronic versions of books for review (thank you, thank you, thank you for saving me a trip to the post office). I strongly suggest making a ZIP file for reviewers to save yourself the work of emailing back and forth trying to figure out what format of e-book they read. The package should include…

  • Copies of your book in MOBI (Kindle), EPUB, and PDF formats. This should cover most e-readers.
  • Your press release
  • Your media kit
  • And a thank you note (because politeness counts)

As I get further into the review process, I’ll cover all the gory details in more depth.

Reading Over Draft One

After a week away from it, I started the read over of draft one of The Voyage: Book Two of The Osteria Chronicles. My beginnings are typically strong and organized (my outline notes being still fresh in my head), so the read over is going well…so far.

Interviewing Hera

In case you missed it, on Monday, the goddess Hera took part in the Share Your World blog event. I’ll be making this a regular feature with each character getting his or her time in the spotlight as we march toward the 18 October release date of The Trials of Hercules.

Here’s the interview (you can read the full post here to learn about creating strong characters in your writing):

A Little Background: Hera is the head goddess of the gods of Osteria. She’s married to Zeus who enjoys any bed but his own marriage bed and she cannot stand the bastard children he creates during these dalliances. Above all, Hera is jealous, unforgiving, and very proud.

Question: What is your favorite type of dog?

Hera’s Answer: I don’t care about breed, just as long as the dog is faithful and loyal. Any dog that runs away will not be welcome back at the end of my leash.

Q: What is one thing most people don’t know about you?

HA: Demeter drives me insane. I know she’s the goddess of grains and crops, but does she have to bring her damn seeds up into our common room on Olympus? I mean, we are gods, we shouldn’t be seen sorting grain like some mortal. If she’s going to insist on doing that sort of thing, i wish she’d do it in her room, not where everyone can see.

Q: Have you ever gone scuba diving? If you haven’t, would you want to?

HA: That’s really more my brother Poseidon’s thing. The only fish I like is served with lemon and salt.

Q: What was the most important event in your life last week?

HA: Zeus thought he was cleverly hiding away his latest lover – some tart named Io. So, I had Hermes kidnap her and put her under the guard of my hundred-eyed dragon. It’s been great fun watching Zeus try to figure out where she’s gone to.

And that concludes our interview with Hera. If you liked this and want to see more interviews with other characters, please click the Like button below and I’ll be sure to do some more over the next few weeks.

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