SELF-e: Another way to get your indie book into libraries–a success story


As an indie author, I’m always looking for avenues to get my books into the hands of readers. At this stage, that’s more important to me than the revenue. So, when I first saw mention of LibraryJournal’s new curated collection for BiblioBoard back in September, I submitted Must Love Breeches, and then Steam Me Up, Rawley when it was published.

Curiously, I was notified earlier this month that Steam had been selected, but not Breeches. The email for the latter said they hadn’t yet made their selections for that genre.

What is it, and why am I posting about it?

As an indie author, it can be difficult to get into libraries. One way, is to use SmashWords to publish to Overdrive, a popular library software that allows library patrons to check out ebooks. Via Smashwords, the library pays for your book, like a regular book reader would. However, getting a library to even want to can be hard. We’re competing in a sea of self-published books, and getting noticed is growing increasingly difficult. Using NetGalley can help, as librarians use it to find books. As does getting a review in Publisher’s Weekly.

Now LibraryJournal has launched a new discovery tool to make it easier for librarians to stock indie books: SELF-e. Here’s what they say:

SELF-e is an innovative collaboration between Library Journal and BiblioBoard® that enables authors and libraries to work together and expose notable self-published ebooks to voracious readers looking to discover something new.

Finally, a simple and effective way to catalog and provide access to ebooks by local authors and build a community around indie writing!

Here’s how it works. You submit your book, and LibraryJournal will put it in their pool to evaluate. Then two things can happen. 1) Your book is selected for the nationwide module that will go to participating libraries that use the BiblioBoard software 2) Your book isn’t selected, but goes into your state’s module for check-out by patrons of libraries in your state that use BiblioBoard.

According to the email I received about Steam, it will be part of the nationwide module that goes out this summer, and will be waiting to go into the state’s module as soon as enough Alabama authors submit.

NOTE: Unlike OverDrive via Smashwords, you will not be paid for your book. However, I’m willing to gamble that the trade-off is worth it. Many readers discover new authors via their library, and this will be another way to have that happen.

How to Submit

It’s pretty easy, but make sure you have all of your book’s metadata to hand, as you need to do it in one sitting.

  1. Go to their Submit Your Book page
  2. Agree to their TOS, and also have the name of your local library handy
  3. Upload your book in either epub or pdf
  4. Answer the rest of their questions
  5. Submit and wait. Good luck!

Have you submitted yet? Do you know of other ways to get your indie ebook into libraries?

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