When I developed my marketing strategy for my book, The Cheap Diva’s Guide to Frugal and Fabulous Living: How to Shop Smart, Look Your Best, Decorate with Style and Have Fun for Less Money!, I decided I was better off focusing on getting my book into public libraries than on the shelves of large bookstore chains. I am happy to have my book available through popular bookstores that want to order copies of the book one at a time for customers who have requested it, but I don’t rely heavily on bookstores to sell my books. If every copy of the book doesn’t sell quickly (without aggressive promotional efforts by the bookstore books by a not-so-famous author aren’t likely to go flying out the door), bookstores more concerned about the bottom line that the brilliance of my prose might choose not to reorder my book in order to make room for newer titles.
Libraries, on the other hand, don’t have that sense of urgency, where a book must be picked up by readers RIGHT NOW or the book will be discarded like expired milk. Libraries buy books with the intention to make those books available long enough to give interested readers ample opportunity to discover them. For authors looking to establish an audience this continued exposure is extremely important. If several people check out my book at a library, this means I’m reaching more people than if a bookstore sold a copy or two and never ordered another book. Having my book checked out repeatedly also increases the chances that the library will order more copies of the book to replace worn out books and keep up with the demand. Because my book is all about living well for less I expect it to be popular with frugal library patrons reluctant to pay full price for a book.
At a bookstore my book on budget friendly living would probably be squeezed in among a bunch of other new books related to that topic. To the customer just casually browsing my book may blend in with the others. Libraries with limited budgets are more likely to update their selection by buying a few select titles in different categories. Libraries often have a section for new books that just came in, so odds are my fresh new title will be displayed among other new books that cover politics, technology and other topics not related to my book topic at all. In other words, my book gets some nice attention and zero competition in the new books section. Even when my book gets shelved in the appropriate section with other lifestyle books, library visitors who frequent that section will probably notice that a new title has been added and gravitate to the newer title.
Stephanie Ann is the author of the book The Cheap Diva’s Guide to Frugal and Fabulous Living: How to Shop Smart, Look Your Best, Decorate with Style and Have Fun for Less Money! and the creator of the budget friendly style blog thecheapdiva.com.