Thursday Tips…Booksellers & Librarians

Thursdays Tips-geared toward the newly pubbed/newly contracted author.  Got any Qs/comments?  Feel free to mention in comments.


I’ve been published since 2003, in print since 2004, but it didn’t dawn on me that I could really help my career if I would do this little thing called networking with booksellers and librarians.

Yes…librarians, people.  Never, ever neglect librarians in this business.  I can’t tell you how often I grit my teeth in sheer frustration when I see an author getting irritated because somebody picked up their book in a library, or worse, I see them snubbing a librarian.

You got any idea how many books libraries buy every year?  The numbers are amazing-thousands, thousands, thousands…and not only do they buy books, when a reader is looking to try a new author, they often look to the library.  If they find you through the library and they get hooked, many then go on to buy the rest of your books.  Love your librarians…they are our friends.

Back to networking.

If you’re anything like me, that might sound either really scary, or really technical…or both.

But it’s not.  Not really.

Basically, all it involves is talking to them.  And that’ so damn easy, because think about… you love books.  They love books.  You’ve got one huge area of common ground, right?

You don’t even have to make this huge buy my book pitch, and since they get a lot of those, chances are if you just come across as a person instead of a walking sales ad, you might make a better impression anyway.

Talk about books, talk about favorite authors.  Ask if it would be okay to get a business card.  Why ask this?

Because one of the reasons you want to network with booksellers and librarians is so you can build a mailing list.

Now you can buy mailing lists, yes.  It’s something I’ve considered and may do at some point.  But over the past two years or so, I’ve started building my own and if I had started in 2004, it would be a pretty impressive list.  And all it takes is collecting a card when you meet booksellers/librarians at events.  Ask if you can have a card, and if they give you one, make sure it’s okay to add them to your mailing list.

Most of them are probably already aware of why you’re asking and most of them are probably delighted to get the promo-they like it, because their readers like it.  The readers like it because the ideal way to use a mailing list is to mail out things like bookmarks and postcards…keeping people informed about upcoming books.

Now this is slower, a little more time-consuming.  If you’d rather not do it that way, you can skip through and either buy/rent mailing lists or use the services provided by places like Romantic Times.

Mailing lists/services:

  • Pat Rouse (Pat doesn’t have a website, but if anybody in interested, let me know and I’ll see if I can hook you up with her.)
  • Romantic Times-Bookstores that Care (scroll down)

image via Dreamstime Free

3 Replies to “Thursday Tips…Booksellers & Librarians”

  1. As a former (and – hopefully – future) bookseller, I can tell you this: We freaking LOVE authors.

    Highlight of my job last year: I got to meet Jacquelyn Frank!

    If I hadn’t had the flu, I’d have gotten to meet Diana Gabaldon too. Damn flu.

  2. Lura… :O) Personally, I love booksellers. Most of you love books as much as I do. It’s always fun to talk books with booklovers. 😉 And that sucks on getting the flu-right before meeting somebody wyou wanna meet? Ick.

  3. Totally agree! I have authors which I automatically buy, but if it’s someone new I’ll get work to buy them first (the perks of working in a library – I get to treat the collection as my own personal bookcase), then if I loved the book, I’ll buy it. And if there’s an author that
    I love, I’ve got no problem being their unofficial pusher and recommending them to our patrons 🙂

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