How to Get Self-Published Books into Stores and Libraries

Indie authors are getting creative—and finding success—in landing self-published books on retail and library shelves.

While many indie authors have mastered online sales, even strong-selling writers tend to see distribution to libraries and bricks-and-mortar stores as difficult to impossible. However, they should consider giving it another go. Industry experts and indie authors who have tried to get wider distribution have recently found surprising success—both in expanded availability and greater awareness of their work.

“If a library truly commits to your title and plans to not only make it available to patrons but also include it in library marketing materials, then authors can expect a nice discoverability boost,” says Jane Friedman, the former publisher of Writer’s Digest and an expert on self-publishing. “Library collections are highly curated, and so the discoverability is better than if you’re available through your average online outlet where millions of titles are stocked.”

Getting this sort of support from both libraries and bookstores is not the impossible task that many self-published authors imagine. But it does take a careful approach, speaking to the right people in the right way, and working to build relationships over the long term, rather than just making a few quick sales.

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