Promoting Your Book with a Library Talk

V__CAE9A few weeks ago, one of my work colleagues saw my debut novel From Here to Nashville on the shelf in our local library. She very kindly took a picture for me which I shared on my Facebook Author Page. It was a very exciting moment for me, as you would expect.

I decided that I should go into the library as soon as possible and see it for myself but when I said that’s what I was going to do, everyone told me to ask if they would be interested in me giving a talk about my book and my self-publishing journey at the library. I knew that this was a good idea but the very thought of it filled me with dread. Taking that step meant really ‘announcing’ to my local community that I am an author and although people who know me wouldn’t believe it, I am actually quite shy.

So I let a week or so go by and then one day, when I was feeling brave, I just went in and introduced myself to the manager and she was so friendly and welcoming that I was glad (as well as relieved) that I had summoned up the courage to do it. She was delighted when I asked whether she would like me to do a talk and we exchanged details with the aim of scheduling it in before C20151108_093552hristmas.

After a flurry of emails, we have now settled on a date and the manager has produced some wonderful promotional materials too which you can see here. Around this time, someone on our RNA (Romantic Novelists’ Association) members forum asked for advice about writing press releases. This is something that I should have done for my book when it came out of course but once again, I was afraid of doing it in case I was shot down in flames. Well, I got in touch with another lovely member of the RNA who was offering help to anyone who needed it. I have now written a press release which Linda has checked for me and it is ready to be sent to some of our local newspapers and I even have an idea (with Linda’s help) for sending it to the local radio that might just grab their attention. Even if it all comes to nothing, at least next time, I will know what to do.

So now all I have to do is to work out what I’m going to say! I am very used to standing up and talking in front of people (children and adults) but of course, I have never been talking about myself before. I have already decided that the Power Point approach is not going to work for this sort of talk. It’s not a presentation after all. The whole event is going to be an hour and a half long in total but I think that a half hour talk by me, followed by time for questions should be enough. The library is then offering refreshments while I will be signing and selling lots of books (I hope!)

For my talk then, I am going to use index cards and tell how I started along this journey with the idea for the story followed by a summary of the steps along the way to self-publication. I will have my computer there so that I can show my website, amongst other things because I think this will be of interest to some members of the audience. I plan to finish up with a bit about my new book Where My Heart Belongs which is now in the final editing phase before it goes off to a professional editor.

I hope that if this talk goes well, I may be able to interest more libraries in the area, as well as other organisations like the WI. The library manager also contacted me the other day to ask whether I could lend her some copies of my book for a display they’re doing about my talk because the copy they have has now been taken out! This prompted me to get on and apply for a Public Lending Rights account which has been on my to-do list for a while. If you don’t know about this, it is a free service provided by The British Library for authors whereby you are paid for all the times that someone borrows your book from a library. It really is marvellous 🙂

I will of course let you all know how I get on and I hope that if, like me, you have been hesitating to get out there and promote yourself, the library may be a good place to start. If you have already given a talk at your library or somewhere else, please do let me know how it went in the comments below. Thanks for reading.

26 thoughts on “Promoting Your Book with a Library Talk

  1. The WI is a good idea, Julie. Most branches have speakers and now is the time to be getting in touch with the events person as they will probably be looking at next year’s timetable. They pay speakers, too, I’m pretty sure. They also do workshops, so you might be able to interest one or two in a self-publishing workshop (and be paid).

    Local radio is a good idea. My own local radio regularly interviews authors, as does the local paper. It might be slightly easier in Ireland as the population is so much smaller, but I’d say most local stations would have a slot available for interviews. My local radio station also has a country programme (country is big in Ireland :-)) – I don’t know about the UK stations, but it might be worth looking specially for shows that play that type of music. It might even be worth getting in touch with Irish stations, as they often do interviews by phone.

    Good luck with your library event – I would attend if I was closer.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much for reading and commenting, Clare. I didn’t know that the WI held workshops so it really is time for me to find out more about that, thank you.
      I’m not sure whether the local radio station has a country show (still some way to go on that!) but then I’ve only looked at the BBC so I should look at some of the independents as well perhaps. And if that goes well, it would give me the courage to contact others too 🙂
      Thanks for your good wishes, I would love to have been able to meet you. I’ll let you know how it goes though and we thought we might even video a bit!

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  2. I think this is wonderful and only wish I could be there! Good luck Julie. I got on really well with the WI, they approached me in response to a press release. As did a local breakfast club and a creative writing class, so you may well find your calendar filling! I’m so impressed. Gutted I can’t attend, get someone to video/photograph you and share it here please!

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    • Thanks, Sam, I wish you could be there too! That’s interesting about people contacting you as a result of your press releases, that would be fab 🙂 We are thinking of videoing a little bit and there will definitely be photos to be shared.

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    • Thanks, Christina! Yes, that’s the next thing to worry about is if someone actually wants to know more after I send out the press releases. I will be a quivering wreck by that stage 😉

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    • Thanks, Wendy. You know I am always happy to do that when your time comes, although I’m sure they’d jump at the chance for you to do a talk now – you’re a mine of information already!

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  3. Best of luck, Julie. I’m sure you’ll have a terrific time. You’ve obviously put in lots of preparation. I have been to a lot of author talks in libraries and people are so interested in the writing process. Your talk will be doubly interesting because of the self-publishing angle. I’ll look forward to reading about it. Good luck! xx

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    • Thanks, Sue, I hope I will! Just feeling a bit nervous now despite standing up all day most days and talking to pupils. Anyway, being well-prepared is the key and that’s the next thing on my to-do list!

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    • Thanks, Sue. It would be lovely to do it with other authors – perhaps that’s an idea for the future! Good luck with yours as well – I’ll try and pass on any tips 🙂

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    • Yes, I do know of them but as I’m not retired or semi-retired, I’m not sure if I qualify but my mum is going to go along this month and find out for me!

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  4. Great post. Really enjoyed it.
    I did a library talk last year, and thoroughly enjoyed it. It went very well and the time just flew by. I had index cards, but, once I got going, I forgot to look at them. Fortunately, I knew what to say since I was talking about me, my books and my journey to publication.

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  5. I enjoyed your post, Julie. You’ll be fine. I love doing library talks. Did one in Tunbridge Wells a couple of Saturdays ago for their special Fun Day. They also gave me 1.5 hour slot. I divided it up into three – family history (I write historical sagas), research, and Annie’s Story, which is the book itself, and what it means to be a published author. I also handed round photographs
    , showed them pictures and generally interacted with them. They asked lots of questions and the time flew by (nobody got up and left!). Then over half of them bought a copy of the book, and a few of my non-fiction memoirs as well! Overall, a great morning which I thoroughly enjoyed.
    Good luck with yours (if you’ve not already given it).

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your message, Fenella. I like the idea of interacting with the audience as much as possible, although I don’t have anything to hand round sadly. But I think you’re right that you need to interact as much as possible. I’m looking forward to it and hope that I’ll sell some books afterwards too 🙂

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      • Make sure you actually show them a copy of the book. The chap who did the afternoon slot didn’t, and he didn’t sell any of his books! He was also extremely serious. Nice if you can have a laugh with audience. I’m usually quite self-deprecating. People always like that and it breaks the ice, and they are with you from then on.
        Please let me know how you get on, and Good Luck 🙂

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      • Thanks for that tip! It seems so obvious but when you’re nervous, it’s so easy to make mistakes, isn’t it? I hope I’ll relax into it and be able to have a bit of a laugh as well. I will definitely let you know how I get on. Thanks so much for your good wishes, it really means a lot to me 🙂

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  6. I might have told you, Julie, that when I was very young(!) I married an American called Lonnie Stock. However, even at 19, I was a rebel and kept my own name (Denise Barnes), but ‘Stock’ is still fairly unusual. I never came across it in 30 years of registering people in estate agency! I think Lonnie had some German blood in him though he was dark-haired with big brown eyes. 🙂

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    • It’s a funny thing but as a teacher, I have even had a ‘Stock’ in my class – and not my own! When we lived in France for a year, we ‘lost’ a bank transfer because it was put into the account of another Stock! How likely was that to happen in Clermont-Ferrand?! So we have come across it a bit, over the years 🙂 No German blood in my husband’s family, I don’t think though 😉 My husband is dark-haired (what’s left of it!) with brown eyes too xx

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    • Thanks, Wendy. It was nowhere near as scary as you might think! I had lots of friends and family in the audience and I think that helped a lot 🙂

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