Thursday, May 26, 2016

Thursday Feature: Lori MacLaughlin

Hey everyone! Today I want to welcome Lori MacLaughlin to The Five Year Project. Today, she's sharing info on how to get your self-published book into libraries. Take it away, Lori!

Is Your Self-Published Book in the Library?

Thanks so much, Misha, for having me over today!!

Libraries are a largely untapped market in the self-publishing world. It's not easy to get self-pubbed books into them. The sheer volume of books hitting the marketplace, limited shelf space, and the stigma that still surrounds self-pubbed books are just some of the barriers to library inclusion. Lack of library cataloging data is another.

I started doing research on how to break into the library market. Most of the articles I read described similar courses of action. These were some of the most important things that the articles recommended:

1.      Put out a quality product that has been professionally edited and has a professionally designed cover. Buy an ISBN for it.

2.      Create a website and social media presence to publicize your book. Libraries will be more likely to take a chance on your book if it looks like there will be demand for it.

3.      Get honest positive reviews for your book for the same reason. If you can get one from Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, or the Library Journal, they'll definitely take notice.

4.      Provide library cataloguing data. This makes the librarians' jobs so much easier. Books published through Amazon's Createspace have the opportunity to obtain Library of Congress (LOC) Cataloging Numbers (LCCNs). Books self-published through other means may be eligible for LOC Preassigned Control Numbers (PCNs). Any cataloguing done through the LOC must be done before the book is published. Once it is published it is no longer eligible for LOC cataloguing.

5.      Visit local libraries and meet with the person responsible for acquiring books. Offer to donate your book to get your foot in the door. Do some local media promotion to get people into the library to read your book.

Here are some informational links that I found useful:

I think tackling the library market is well worth the effort. Has anyone else out there had any success with this?


About the Book:

Tara Triannon is no stranger to trouble. She's yet to find an enemy her skill with a sword couldn't dispatch. But how can she fight one that attacks through her dreams?

With her nightmares worsening, Tara seeks answers but finds only more questions. Then her sister, Laraina, reveals a stunning secret that forces Tara to go to the one place Tara's sworn never to return to. Her troubles multiply when Jovan Trevillion, the secretive soldier of fortune who stole her heart, is mentally tortured by an ancient Being intent on bending him to its will. And worst of all, the Butcher — the terrifying wolf-like assassin she thought she'd killed — survived their duel and is hunting her again.

Hounded by enemies, Tara sets out on a harrowing quest to discover the true nature of who she is, to come to grips with the new volatility of her magic, and to defeat the evil locked in a centuries-old trap that will stop at nothing to control her magic and escape through her nightmares.

Amazon  |  Barnes& Noble  |  Kobo  |  iBooks

About the Author:

Lori L. MacLaughlin traces her love of fantasy adventure to Tolkien and Terry Brooks, finding The Lord of the Rings and The Sword of Shannara particularly inspirational. She's been writing stories in her head since she was old enough to run wild through the forests on the farm on which she grew up.

She has been many things over the years – tree climber, dairy farmer, clothing salesperson, kids' shoe fitter, retail manager, medical transcriptionist, journalist, private pilot, traveler, wife and mother, Red Sox and New York Giants fan, muscle car enthusiast and NASCAR fan, and a lover of all things Scottish and Irish.

When she's not writing (or working), she can be found curled up somewhere dreaming up more story ideas, taking long walks in the countryside, or spending time with her kids. She lives with her family in northern Vermont.

You can find her here:


  1. I had assumed that it was impossible to get self published books into libraries. Good to be proven wrong and useful tips from Lori on how to go about it. Cheers - Ellen

  2. Great advice! I also thought this was something that just didn't happen. Thanks for the tips, Lori - I knew nothing about cataloguing data, for example.

  3. Ellen and Nick — I thought the same thing until I started looking into it. It's not easy, but it's not impossible either. Good luck!

  4. Excellent advice! Beats my, cross-your-fingers-and-hope approach.

  5. Some of those are good tips for any published author.

  6. Great advice for any writer...I always wondered how new books got into libraries:)

  7. Elizabeth — I still cross my fingers about things, too. :)

    Juneta — Thank you!

    Alex — That's true!

    Mark — I had never really thought that much about it before.

  8. Wonderful tips. I need to follow these.

  9. It's sad that libraries are so hesitant to take local author books. They should have a shelf just for local author books, regardless of how they are published.

  10. Thanks for doing all this research and sharing it with us. The tips are really helpful and I hope more self published books find their way onto library shelves. :)

  11. Medeia — I found them very useful.

    Karen — Some libraries I went to did accept self-published books from local authors, which I was happy to see. That's progress!

    Jess — You're welcome. I hope so, too.

  12. Hi Misha!

    Great tips, Lori. Especially number four - I love how easy CreateSpace makes it for the author.

  13. My book is in one local library, but only because I used to attend a writers group there, and they asked me to donate a copy for the stacks. It was a weird, slightly-terrifying thrill whenever I happened to notice (not that I ever looked when I was there...) that someone had checked it out.

    Excellent tips...I'll have to make use of them when my second book is ready for release. :)

  14. Elsie — Thank you!

    M.J. — That's great that your book is in the library. I confess that every once in a while, I look at the computerized card catalog in my local library to see if my book has been taken out and do a little internal happy dance when it has.


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