Marketing Your Ebook Through the Public Library
In addition to getting your book into various digital and physical marketplaces, the public library is another literary sphere that should not be ignored. Making your titles available to the millions of public library patrons can greatly expand your readership, broaden your fandom and encourage discovery of your ebooks. According to Library Journal’s Patron Profiles, 50% of people who discover an author in a library go on to buy a book by that author. Luckily, with the Library Journal SELF-e program and Pressbooks Public, it is now easier than ever for indie authors to circulate their titles at public libraries both locally and internationally.
What is Pressbooks Public?
Pressbooks Public is an easy-to-use online software — available for free through participating libraries— that allows indie authors to create professional-quality ebooks and print-ready files of their manuscript in EPUB, MOBI and PDF formats. These ebooks can then be submitted to the Library Journal SELF-e program right from the Pressbooks Public interface.
What is SELF-e?
SELF-e is a discovery platform designed to expose indie authors’ ebook(s) to more readers via the public library. It is a free service available to all indie authors, no matter which self-publishing service(s) you use. Distribution via the SELF-e program is royalty-free and the license signed is non-exclusive.
“Libraries are all about readers and writers connecting. This program helps librarians to better serve readers and authors to grow their audience.”
— CJ Lyons, bestselling indie author of 2 million plus books sold
How does it work?
Authors can submit as many titles as they’d like for consideration by Library Journal for inclusion in the international SELF-e Select collections. These genre-based collections are available to participating SELF-e libraries all over the world. Titles that are not chosen by Library Journal for SELF-e Select are still included in the local SELF-e collections, which are available to all the SELF-e libraries in that region.
“Librarians can be a powerful marketing force for emerging authors, especially if they can promote the books without fear of success. The SELF-e approach will encourage books to be discovered and even go viral.”
— Hugh Howey, bestselling self-published author with 2 million plus books sold
Is SELF-e right for me?
Authors self-publish for all sorts of different reasons, each one as valid and important as any other. Which type of author are you?
 I’M AN UNKNOWN AUTHOR WHO HAS WRITTEN MY FIRST BOOK.
Congratulations on writing your first book! As many seasoned authors will tell you, the first book is the most difficult to promote since you are still building your readership. Through SELF-e, you can make your ebook available to thousands of readers via participating public libraries in your region, and have the potential to reach an international audience through Library Journal’s curated collections.
 I’VE SELF-PUBLISHED A FEW BOOKS AND HAVE A SMALL FOLLOWING, BUT I WANT TO EXPAND MY REACH.
By making your ebooks accessible via public libraries, you will maximize your ability to grow your readership. SELF-e’s PatronsFirst delivery platform increases your discoverability by allowing you to offer one or more of your ebooks to library patrons for free through the web and on every major device. In 2017, we will be launching dashboards to help you see exactly how well your ebooks are performing in libraries.
 I’M A PUBLISHED AUTHOR WITH ELECTRONIC RIGHTS TO SOME / ALL OF MY EBOOKS.
By re-introducing your older works to a new audience in the public library system, you can build a new readership for your entire backlist. When your book becomes available via SELF-e, you can partner with your local library on a relaunch campaign while offering your ebook(s) to library patrons for free on any major electronic device. In addition, SELF-e’s analytic reports will allow you to see exactly how well your ebooks are performing in libraries, so you will know how many people are checking out your books.
 I AM A PROLIFIC AUTHOR WHO SERIALIZES MY WORK.
An emerging trend has developed for authors of serialized content to make installments of their works free to readers electronically. Through this method, they build an audience and drive sales in print and for future installments of their series. Through SELF-e you will be able to further extend your reach via public libraries, while creating demand for your work in other channels. Then, you can use SELF-e’s analytic reports to show how well your ebooks are doing in libraries, so you will know exactly how many people are checking out your books.
How to submit to SELF-e
The submission process takes about 5 minutes, and you can submit as many of your ebooks as you would like. Before you submit, please make sure that your book is:
- A PDF or an EPUB file
- In the English language
- An original work to which you own the rights
Once submitted, your book will be passed through the Library Journal curation process, and you will be notified within 4-6 weeks if your book has been chosen as a SELF-e Selection.
Library Journal is actively reviewing Adult and Young Adult Fiction submissions at this time. We are accepting Nonfiction, Poetry and Children’s submissions for the local collections, but are still working on plans for when we will begin actively reviewing those genres for inclusion in the international SELF-e Select collections.
All submissions, regardless of audience or genre, may still be included in your local state collections, if you so choose!
Ready to get started? Submit your ebook(s) at https://selfe.librariescreate.com/self-e/.
Here’s how to make the most of your SELF-e participation.
Get involved in Indie Author Day
Engage your literary community and promote your works to local patrons by participating in Indie Author Day — an annual event celebrated at public libraries around the world. On Indie Author Day, libraries big and small host events where local authors connect, network, share experiences and feature locally-written books to library patrons in their communities. To learn more about how to get involved in this year’s Indie Author Day, visit the Indie Author Day website.
Become a SELF-e Ambassador
If you are notified of your inclusion in the international SELF-e Select collections, you can further promote your works by applying to participate in the SELF-e Ambassador program.
SELF-e Ambassadors are SELF-e Select authors who attend events all over the country to talk about their experiences with self-publishing and to promote their works. These ambassadors are given exciting opportunities to participate in a wide selection of library programming and indie author events to market their titles and network with other self-publishing professionals. To become a SELF-e Ambassador, you must first be chosen by Library Journal to become a part of the international SELF-e Select collections. Then, you apply using the form provided in your acceptance emails. The SELF-e team contacts authors as events are announced in your area.