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Spreading – No – Sharing The Word


My publisher sent me off this week, off with parcel of books. Copies of 'Gate of Tears' to deliver to my local county library.  

In the UK, public libraries are under threat of execution. Many (some reports say 400) are seriously threatened because of cuts in public expenditure. Book acquisitions are being cut. 

It's a grim prospect, but then, even without the cuts, the new generations of children are PC and iPhone focused, and Kindle is growing rapidly (but that might actually help authors). 

My mother signed me up to our local library when I was about six, and I've belonged to a library for most of my life - and I'm still an active member. Does your library have a particular smell you can recapture in your mind's nose? Mine does.  

'You're a new product' my publisher says. You need to build a readership. Fair enough. Free samples. Just like a new soft drink or chocolate bar. Hmmm, new idea, that. 

But then I got to thinking. Maybe he's right, and building a following is important (ok, that's a no-brainer). Every free sample chocolate bar gets eaten once, but each library copy may be loaned and read 50 times - now that's leverage. I was starting to taste the chocolate! 

So, let's start unwrapping the bar. There are payments from the UK Government to registered authors under the Public Lending Right Act 1979, too, currently at a rate of about 6 pence (9 US cents) per loan. The maximum payable to any one author for any year is £6,600 (circa $10,000). In 2011, 242 authors received the maximum payment. 

Not a fortune, but helps keep the hunger away from one year to the next. James Patterson's books are borrowed about 1.5 million times a year in the UK. Tasty. Building a brand, creating demand. Damn, my publisher is brainwashing me.

So, the plan was to donate some copies of 'Gate of Tears' to the libraries in my local county. Emails were exchanged - they were keen to have the copies, with a policy of supporting local authors. My publisher ( eZeeBooks ) included some customised posters and a bundle of bookmarks. 

I delivered the parcel, and my publisher also offered my name to the County Library's Literary Organiser as someone prepared to go along to appropriate events. 

Just one aspect of book marketing, and because they were donated without charge, they were helping my local libraries. Books wear out, and new stock has to be acquired. Good thinking, glad to help.

One small seed cast on a prairie.