How To Get Your Self-Published Book Into Libraries With Eric Otis Simmons

How can you make your self-published books available to libraries in every format? How can you pitch librarians so they are interested in ordering your books? Eric Otis Simmons explains how he successfully pitches and sells to libraries throughout the USA.

In the intro, Books2Read is useful for sharing wide links; Lindsay Buroker gives long term career advice [Twitter thread]; Pics from Rhodes, Instagram @jfpennauthor; Into The Briny Deep, short stories set in the sea with all kinds of monsters, includes my short story, The Dark Queen; Abba Voyage with the augmented reality Abba-tars; Thoughts on visiting the USA again post-pandemic [Books and Travel]


Today’s show is sponsored by IngramSpark, who I use to print and distribute my print-on-demand books to 39,000 retailers including independent bookstores, schools and universities, libraries and more. It’s your content—do more with it through

Eric Otis Simmons is the author of the memoir, Not Far From The Tree, and books for authors, including Getting Your Book Into Libraries. He’s the CEO of ESE, Inc., which builds custom websites, and he’s also a speaker on diversity, equity, and inclusion.

You can listen above or on your favorite podcast app or read the notes and links below. Here are the highlights and the full transcript is below.

Show Notes

  • Why authors should consider having their books in libraries
  • What services can you use to reach libraries with ebook, print, and audio?
  • How do libraries find books to buy?
  • How to pitch your book to libraries
  • Resources available to assist getting your book into libraries

You can find Eric Simmons at and on Twitter @eseinc1

Transcript of Interview with Eric Simmons

Joanna Penn: Eric Otis Simmons is the author of the memoir, Not Far From The Tree, and books for authors, including Getting Your Book Into Libraries. He’s the CEO of ESE, Inc., which builds custom websites, and he’s also a speaker on diversity, equity, and inclusion. Welcome to the show, Eric.

Eric Simmons: Joanna, thank you so much for having me today.

Joanna Penn: I’m excited to talk to you about this.

Before we get into libraries, tell us a bit more about you and how you got into writing.

Eric Simmons: It’s an interesting story, Joanna. I grew up in Little Rock, Arkansas, and Montgomery, Alabama, which I view as two of the leading civil rights hotbeds here in America. So most of my schooling, I was a year or two away from schools being integrated.

In addition to that, when I joined corporate America, where I spent 30 years in sales and sales management for some of the most admired companies in the world, such as IBM, AT&T, GE, and others, I generally was the first black male to work in the positions that I was in.

At NCI, I also sold internationally where I closed in Brussels a $1 million sale, in Paris, a $500,000 sale, and in Hong Kong, a $25 million sale. So, when I would share snippets of information with co-workers, and family, and friends about my life, I would constantly get feedback that, ‘Hey, you’ve gotta write a book.’

So after 12 years of procrastination, I finally sat down and wrote my memoir, Not Far From The Tree, and I self-published it. So it was the encouragement of others that led me to get into writing.

Joanna Penn: When did you self-publish that?

Eric Simmons: I released my memoir in May of 2017. So this is its fifth year anniversary.

Joanna Penn: That’s brilliant. Do you mind me asking what age bracket you are just so people get that?

Eric Simmons: Oh, that’s fine. I’m in my early 60s.

Joanna Penn: I think just to get the timeframe because you mentioned there being involved in civil rights and obviously, still critically important area, but equally, like you said so many years in corporate America.

I said to you before we started recording, you’re so organized. One of the reasons I wanted to talk to you is because you’ve been super organized about marketing to libraries and getting your book into libraries and helping authors with that. So, let’s get into libraries.

First of all, why should authors even consider thinking about getting their books into libraries? Why is it important?

Eric Simmons: There are a number of factors, Joanna, that go beyond just the prestige of getting one’s book into a library. For me as a self-publisher, getting my book into library serves as validation that I’ve written a quality piece of work. But in addition to that, because of my corporate background, I’m into numbers, I’m into data that can confirm things for me.

When I look at the library market, there are over 2.6 million libraries worldwide, and they spend about $31 billion annually. In addition to that, of that $31 billion, about $1.4 billion is spent on books. So, that represents a significant market for all of us as self-publishing houses and self-publishers.

Another area that’s important I believe that our listeners should consider is libraries are excellent references for other libraries.

What I mean by that, if you’re able to get your book into one library and you let another library know about it, your chances go up, I believe dramatically, in terms of being able to get your book into follow on libraries. There’s statistics that show that every happy reader of a book in a library tells five other people. That’s another consideration.

Then when you look at the different age brackets, anywhere from millennials to baby boomers, no matter what age brackets you look at, if you can get your book into a library, there’s a good chance that that reader is going to buy that book. And in addition, if you have multiple books as an author in libraries, millennials are more than 70% likely to buy your follow-on books.

So, there’s just a number of reasons and data supports it, in my opinion, for us to all consider libraries as a very viable market for our self-published works.

Joanna Penn: Absolutely. And then I want to add the accessibility angle as well. As we are discussing this in May 2022, there’s inflation, the cost of living is increasing. And I think people will be needing libraries more than ever.

It’s not just print books, is it? It’s eBooks, it’s audiobooks that people can get from their libraries online, as well as in person.

My mum was a single mum and we were on benefits for a while and I grew up in the library. That’s where I got books from.

So I almost feel like it’s important that we pay it forward to people and have our books available to those readers who just can’t get them any other way.

What do you think about that?

Eric Simmons: I totally agree with you. And even with the pandemic, it doesn’t look like the library traffic has slowed down.

During the height of the pandemic, libraries were still offering services and they began to use tools like Zoom to provide, they call them programming. I view those as just events that are offered by libraries. I totally agree with you wholeheartedly Joanna.

Joanna Penn: Actually, that’s a really good point because one of the issues that people have with libraries is, oh, they want me to go and do an event in person, but I have to travel and I won’t get paid and it will be too expensive.

But if you are doing something over Zoom, then actually more authors can probably get involved with those types of programming for different libraries, right? That’s what a lot of children’s authors are doing too in schools. So probably the same with libraries.

Eric Simmons: Right. Actually, when libraries shut down across the globe during the height of the pandemic, one of my strategies was actually reaching out to libraries and say, ‘Hey, as a part of your programming to continue to provide services to your patrons, I’m willing to offer at no charge a Zoom video conference to share how I self-publish my book where I could talk about my memoir.’

During the pandemic, I actually did a reading of my memoir. First time I’d ever done one ever. Not even in person had I done one. I did it via Zoom. It went over incredibly well.

Then I talked about self-publishing with several other libraries. So I was staying busy with my library marketing during the height of the pandemic. And I was getting my books in the libraries during that time.

Joanna Penn: I actually think you probably stand out more than a load of authors who just exist as books because once you are a real person, and they see you, and they listen to you, and they’re like, ‘Oh yeah, yeah, I remember that author, I’ll recommend the book more,’ right?

Eric Simmons: That’s a great point. You’re right. You’re absolutely right.

And it’s so funny during one of my Zoom conferences with a library in Pennsylvania, the librarian told the audience, there were about 20 people on the Zoom conference, and he said, ‘The reason why I bought Eric’s book was I noticed another library that I’m familiar with and I figured if they bought it, well, then it’s good enough for me.’ So libraries make for good references to my earlier point.

Joanna Penn: Very good. In that case, librarians, if you are listening, you can get either Eric or me to speak virtually at your library!

Eric Simmons: Exactly.

Joanna Penn: I think that’s a really good point. I hadn’t even thought about that.

Circling back, you mentioned $1.4 billion spent by librarians on books. So, let’s talk about how as self-published authors, we can make our books available to libraries.

The librarian doesn’t go on Amazon and buy a book, do they? How do they find the different books?

Eric Simmons: That’s a great point. When I first started marketing to libraries, I couldn’t figure out why I wasn’t getting my foot into the door. And to your point, not a lot of libraries buy from Amazon. And that surprised me with Amazon being the world’s largest online bookstore.

What I came to learn, libraries use other sources to acquire their books. One of which, and probably the leading source is Ingram, and Ingram has a platform similar to KDP and it’s called IngramSpark.

And then there are other distributors that libraries buy from for paperbacks, such as Blurb. Well, Blurb actually distributes through Ingram. So, those are two that I use for my paperbacks, Ingram and Blurb.

And then for my eBooks, I’ve seen librarians buy from Draft2Digital, Smashwords, StreetLib, and PublishDrive.

Now, PublishDrive is interesting because they’re using a company called Hoopla. And Hoopla is a competitor of OverDrive, which for years has been the primary eBook source for libraries.

But what’s important about Hoopla, I kind of view them as the Netflix of libraries because they offer video, audio, as well as eBooks. Hoopla uses a different model.

They’re using something called a pay per checkout model, which means, Joanna, for your listeners, is that let’s say your book is selling for $10. Well, instead of the library buying that book at the retail or at a discounted price, they are paying when you check out the book, when one of their patrons checks out the book.

So if it’s a $10 book, you might get paid one 10th of that or $1 for that checkout. And that counts as a library sale. So they’re using a little bit different model, but there are other companies out there that libraries look at much more so than they do Amazon to acquire their books.

Joanna Penn: Absolutely. And just to add there, so Draft2Digital also distribute to Hoopla. So there’s definitely overlap in all these services. Smashwords is now owned by Draft2Digital, or they merged.

OverDrive is also owned by the sister company to Kobo. So if you go direct to Kobo Writing Life, you’ll also be in OverDrive. So what I tend to think is just overlap them because…

Eric Simmons: Yeah, correct.

Joanna Penn: Although if you try and figure out how to just not avoid uploading twice, it doesn’t work. I upload to a lot of these services and end up on all of them somehow.

But as you say, what happens is…well, how I believe it happens is either the librarian will find out in some way and we’ll talk about marketing, but also a library patron can suggest a book and that will be ordered into the ebook catalog or the print catalog or the audio catalog.

That’s another thing, isn’t it, is to ask our readers to request our books in libraries.

Eric Simmons: That’s a great point, Joanna, because librarians weigh heavily their patrons, in particular books. That’s great point that you make. So, you’re right. I would encourage us to have patrons recommend our books to libraries. That’s a great point.

Joanna Penn: And as you mentioned, we still get paid. So the reader gets it for free and we still get paid, either because the library bought it or because they have a pay-per-checkout. To me, it’s amazing.

So that’s eBooks and print books and, of course, authors can get their audiobooks into libraries through Findaway Voices, who also have a similar thing where you can get paid per checkout or the library can buy the audiobooks.

Basically, you can get into libraries with all these different formats, but, of course, just because things are available, it doesn’t mean that the library does know it exists.

What are some ways that you’ve been pitching libraries with your books?

Eric Simmons: Several ways. As I mentioned earlier, Zoom video conferencing, but the primary method, Joanna, I’ve been using has been email.

When I first started out, I was calling libraries by phone. I had a little plan that I had put together and I had my little voice script. And after about three telephone calls, librarians kept telling me, ‘Please send me some information over. Your book sounds great, but I’d like to learn more.’ And so that’s when I decided to go the email route.

One of the things strategically that I knew or I felt would be important was I didn’t want to send spam-like emails. I didn’t want to send flyers. So what I ended up doing was constructing customized emails where I include not only the librarian’s name, but the library, perhaps in the body of the document, and then that email document became what I call sales sheet.

It was informational from the standpoint that it had the ISBN of my book or books. It had my book cover. It had a synopsis or a description about the book and it had who you could buy the book from.

It was a document, but technically if you peel back the onion, it was really my metadata. I just learned how to construct it in a way that I felt would be reader-friendly that a librarian could pick up and get most of the information that they would need to make an informed decision as to whether or not they wanted to buy the book.

I also spent anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes trying to construct my subject line. So I put almost as much time into the subject line to get the librarian to open up the email as I spent developing of the internal email itself.

Joanna Penn: Did you send that as like an attachment, because attachments get lost in spam a lot? Or did you put it all in the body?

Eric Simmons: Just in the body. I never sent attachments, to your point, because a librarian is getting a strange email and with an attachment. Well, a lot of people might think an attachment would create spam or a virus. So no, I do not use attachments at all.

Joanna Penn: I think that’s a really good point. So, when you are pitching your book, so it’s mainly your memoir, Not Far From The Tree, so what…

Eric Simmons: Well, actually, I have four other titles, but I really only pitched the three others. And one would be Getting Your Book Into Libraries, and then I have two other books, one on self-publishing and then a combination book that includes how to get started at self-publishing and then here’s a market that you can go to, which are libraries. So, I combined two books into one.

When you asked me about my marketing, this was a marketing and a strategic idea that I had. With the pandemic, there was information coming out that librarians’ budgets would be cut. And so I said, ‘Well, they might not be able to afford two of my books separately, so why not combine them into one?‘ And that’s what I did.

Joanna Penn: I think that’s really interesting. And so, you are putting all of that in the email and you’re putting the name of the librarian and the particular library. So this is where your incredible sales background comes in.

How did you find the information on the librarian and the names of people, particularly?

Eric Simmons: That’s a great question. It was manual. If you were to Google top 100 libraries in the United States, the American Library Association will have a listing.

I took that listing, copy and pasted it into an Excel spreadsheet, which became my library contacts database, which now has thousands of librarian contacts. And then I had to go and search each library and try to find what I thought was their highest level decision-makers.

In some libraries, if they are very large, I went directly after the CEO. I was mailing to the CEO of the Atlanta Public Library here in Atlanta. And so that’s how I went about it.

I also discovered there are some states that actually have lists that are in Excel spreadsheets. And so I was able to use those. Most were outdated. So I had to do some updating.

And then the third area was some libraries have PDFs of their librarians. And that’s more of a nightmare because you’re copying and pasting, and it takes forever to do. But honestly, that’s how I did it because I was so determined to get my books into libraries, I felt I needed a resource that I could pull from so that I could be able to send custom emails to 100 librarians if I wanted to, or to 300. I never do more than 300 because then it begins to become unwieldly.

Subsequently, through the course of a year and email libraries quarterly, and I’m constantly keeping my books in front of librarians and I’m constantly generating sales that way.

Joanna Penn: I love that. I think it’s so brilliant. We’ll talk about your resources in a minute.

Obviously, you are in the USA and you are American, but what about international libraries? Because, of course, like we mentioned OverDrive, for example, they have libraries all over the world.

Have you thought about the international side?

Eric Simmons: Yeah, I actually have, Joanna. I try to incorporate the similar Google search strategy that I did here in the U.S. to look for a list of librarians that I could mail. And when I did that, I didn’t know the international market well enough to begin to figure out, okay, how can I do a Google search to maybe find similar lists? But I actually did make that attempt.

My thought process is if someone were to use the tools that I’ve developed and if they were just to spend a little bit of time, I believe something similar can be done in the UK or internationally, but I did make an attempt, but I just wasn’t able to replicate internationally what I’ve been able to do here in the U.S.

Joanna Penn: I certainly think this is something that is worth doing, especially coming back to the Zoom programming because when I said to you when we got on the phone, ‘I love your voice.’ And part of the reason I love your voice and part of the reason Americans always say to me, ‘Oh, I love your voice’ is because they’re different from our voices.

If you speak to an audience in the UK as an American, you are fundamentally more interesting than someone who’s got an accent like mine. And the same, if I speak to a library in Atlanta, for example, I bet you I’m more interesting because they’re like, ‘Oh, I love listening to your voice.’

Eric Simmons: That’s a great point, Joanna. Yeah. So, actually, as I think through that question, if any of your listeners on this podcast would want to try to begin developing library contacts database for international use, I’d be more than willing to invest a little time with that person or persons to see if we can’t come up with something similar because it would be beneficial to us all, I believe.

Joanna Penn: Tell us about your resources that you have available to people.

Eric Simmons: I use a number of resources. And let me tell you what my resources are kind of geared to do. Each library has what’s called a collection development policy, and those are the rules and guidelines by which libraries acquire books. So, I’m trying to gear my books towards those interest areas, if you will, that libraries have in their guidelines that patrons will come in and subsequently check out a book on.

I’m using resources to support that endeavor. I use very heavily this database, this Excel spreadsheet that I’ve created called my library contacts database. I also use the methodology that I’ve written down in my book, Getting Your Book Into Libraries.

That’s a resource for your podcast listeners. You’ve also posted two of my articles, ‘How to get your book in the libraries’ and ‘Get your book in the libraries.’ Those are additional resources for others, but I’ve used those resources myself because I guess I created them.

Other things I do, I use Google to do research on topics that I feel might be of interest to librarians. As an example, I recently did a mailing to promote my self-publishing works and I found some interesting data that self-publishing has grown 275% over the last 5 years. I input little bullet points that I found about the growth of self-publishing into the body of my email to try to create and generate interest.

I also use WorldCat as a resource to determine which libraries have purchased my book. WorldCat is the world’s largest online catalog where members of a group called the Online Computing Center, which supports WorldCat… These are librarians that when your book goes into a library, they add it. 30% of my library sales are in WorldCat. So I go onto WorldCat, which is as a resource.

I use libraries’ websites as resources to update my database when there’s a new head librarian that may come in or one has retired.

Another resource that I use are distributor sales reports. I use Amazon, Ingram, and those sales reports to give me ideas about my library sales following one of my email campaigns. What I do is I have an idea about how much I sell through Amazon monthly. I have an idea of what I’ve got coming through IngramSpark as an example.

When I see spikes in sales right after an email campaign, I’m about 80%… 80% of the time they’re library sales. I use KDP sales reports as well. So these are just some of the resources that I use to help me in my library marketing endeavors.

Joanna Penn: People can buy these resources from you, right?

Eric Simmons: That is correct. They can buy them through my website. The books are available through Amazon and over 50 other booksellers, but that is correct, Joanna.

Joanna Penn: I think that’s amazing.

You mentioned there finding things that the librarians would be interested in, news, items about self-publishing, for example, and that to me is exactly what you would do with the press release.

One of the fundamental problems with many authors is they think writing a book is news, but it’s not. It needs to be related to what the target market wants.

What you’ve done with that pitch email is you haven’t just said, ‘Hey, here’s my book.’

What you’ve said is, ‘This is why you are interested and my book answers that question,’ right?

Eric Simmons: That’s perfect, Joanna. That’s right. The way I view it is before I send out that email, I’m trying to put myself in the librarian’s seat. That I think is critical when you’re marketing anything to someone that doesn’t know you or is unfamiliar with your product. What I’m trying to do, and I read my emails before I send them out, I’m trying to put myself in that librarian’s seat.

So if it’s you, Joanna, when I finish writing this customized email, I’m trying to envision myself as Joanna. And I’m saying, ‘Okay, I’m Joanna, I’m reading this from an unknown person. Let me read this and let me see what he’s saying here.’

I’m trying to ensure or I’m doing my best to try to cause that reader to want to buy because my saying is, ‘I’ve got one opportunity to impress and I need my email to be such that the librarian will say yes.’

Joanna Penn: How do you pitch your memoir because non-fiction books on a useful topic I feel are much easier to pitch?

How are you pitching your memoir?

Eric Simmons: That’s a great question. What I try to do again, I’m thinking about where the book might fit, either with their patrons or in a library, but particularly with their patrons.

So, what I would pitch Not Far From The Tree for is a library’s sociology section. And then I may mention diversity and inclusion as my book would be a great resource for that should your patrons have an interest.

And then also, Joanna, I also ask for the business in my emails. I would say something like, ‘Miss Penn, it would be a tremendous honor to have Not Far From The Tree added to your library’s collection.’ And then at the end of my email, I would say, ‘I look forward to your prospective order.

Joanna Penn: Oh, nice.

Eric Simmons: I do a soft ask for the business. I think that’s where a lot of people may miss the mark. They may put together a good document for the librarian to read, but they’re not asking for the business. But a soft ask is okay.

I don’t do a hard ask. I don’t say, ‘You absolutely have to buy my book. It’s the best in the world.’ I don’t do that. It’s a very soft ask for the business. And I think that’s an approach for your audience to consider, ask for the business, but ask for it softly.

Joanna Penn: As we said, you have decades of sales experience. So this is all brilliant stuff, actually. I feel like this is one of the issues we have, and I also feel like so much of book marketing now, we’re just talking about ads on Amazon and click this link.

What you are doing is actually really different to what most people are doing now.

Eric Simmons: I’m being proactive, Joanna. I didn’t mean to cut you off. I’m being proactive. I did not want to pay $450 for ‘Kirkus Reviews’ and libraries like to have reviews if they can find them from ‘Library Journal,’ ‘Kirkus,’ ‘Publishers Weekly,’ and the like.

So I really stepped out on a limb because I had so much confidence that I believed I had written a quality piece of work. I felt I could get my foot in the door if I marketed my book professionally to a librarian. I took a chance and the chance paid off.

Joanna Penn: And then, of course, as you said, it spills into other sales as readers discover you. Libraries are incredible ecosystems really. I think they’re becoming more ecosystems for writers’ groups and different readers’ groups and crafting things and children’s stuff. I think we’ve got to think far more broadly about what the library is. It’s almost like a community hub in a lot of places.

To come back to the different types of pitching though because many listeners, including myself as fiction authors, I always feel like with fiction, it’s a much harder pitch because, look, let’s face it, libraries are going to order the top books from the top-selling authors on ‘The New York Times’ list. That’s what people are going to pre-order in their library.

How do we break through that as independent fiction authors?

Eric Simmons: Here’s what I did. I picked randomly 10 libraries and I went through and I read their collection development policies. And from that, one of the policies that I kept seeing over and over, must be of interest. And so I said, ‘Okay, how do I prove my book is of interest.’

One of the ways I’ve done that is through library references. I referenced other libraries that have purchased my book.

But the other thing that I’ve done is I include some of my Amazon sales data to show how well my book is doing in the retail market because my thought process there is, ‘Okay, Miss Penn, librarian, you’re unfamiliar with me. Here’s where I believe my fictional book will fit in your library and would be of interest to your patrons. And in addition, here’s how well my book is doing in the retail space with Amazon.’

Because that idea is that if my book is doing well on Amazon, they’re patrons too. Some of these people may be coming into your library. So I’m trying to make that connection whereby if the book is doing well in this space, I believe it will do well in your library space as well.

That’s how I’m marketing my nonfiction and that’s how I believe you can market your fiction book.

Joanna Penn: I think also perhaps we need to pick the nonfiction topics that are in the fiction.

So if your YA book talks about bullying, for example, then maybe you say my novel tackles the issues of bullying, or like you mentioned, with civil rights, maybe my novel tackles issues of racism in society, or I’ve got one, Desecration, which is about the history of anatomy. Well, it’s not about it. That’s one of the underlying themes.

Maybe I could pitch libraries that have more medical books or university libraries, or I don’t know, maybe that’s another angle.

Eric Simmons: That’s a great idea. I think it’s brilliant, actually, Joanna. And then here’s something that a librarian, a college librarian told me, and this was for academic libraries.

He said, ‘What you want to do is you want to show the librarian where your book fits in their library. So if it has some sociology orientation, you want to show that.’ If it’s, to your point, a fiction book, and you’ve got something in there about bullying, you want to put it in that category.

I’ve actually applied that to both academic and public libraries. I think you touch on a good point, Joanna. If your audience for their fiction books can identify a segment that would be of interest to a librarian, in this case, I’ll go back to using bullying as an example, that’s what you want to pitch and show it where it would fit in the library.

It would be in your fictional area that may deal with books on bullying, or it could be in your sociology book because bullying has to deal with some impacts of sociology.

But that’s where, I think the author has to try to make some decisions as to how they can align that book with the library’s collection development policies because the closer you can make that alignment, the better your chances are of getting in, I feel.

Joanna Penn: You’re sparking lots of ideas now, for me, certainly. What we’re basically talking about now is pitching librarians as an industry. And I presume they have librarian conferences or they have librarian trade journals.

Have you considered advertising or speaking at those types of events?

Eric Simmons: I haven’t, Joanna, because the pandemic interrupted a lot of that and that’s starting to ramp back up. But before, I had not seriously considered that, but that is a great way to get in front of a large audience. And that’s something that I probably will consider going forward.

Joanna Penn: I was just thinking it might be cheaper to put a quarter-page ad in a trade journal for librarians, which there must be such a thing.

Eric Simmons: No, you’re right. There are. It’s just not something that I’ve considered.

One of my big things is I’ve been trying to get my books to profitability and believe it or not, libraries, and then subsequent offspring business that I’ve created has helped me to get my books into the black. I’m running at about a 40.2% profitability with my library book business now.

So I think in terms of, okay, where can I invest my dollars to get the greatest impact? Early on, advertising was just not a part of my budget, but I’m at a point now where I can begin to consider such, Joanna.

Joanna Penn: If you ever think about doing a service for authors, you could have like a pitching service with all the different books that people want to pitch libraries.

Eric Simmons: Actually, I have a consulting service available on my website.

Joanna Penn: That’s brilliant.

Eric Simmons: I’ve actually had people ask me that. And yes, now, I offer that as a part of my library marketing services. And that was the offshoot business that I mentioned. And here’s what’s interesting about that. I got that idea from you.

Joanna Penn: Oh, good.

Eric Simmons: Two ideas that I’ve got from you that have proven big. One was going wide with my books and not being solely reliant on Amazon.

The other was looking for ways to enhance your books beyond selling the books directly. I noticed you had begun to do audiobooks. You had expanded in the podcast. And so I asked myself, ‘What could I expand into?’

When I wrote Getting Your Book Into Libraries, I said, well, you know, some people might like the book but they may have questions why don’t I offer my services for what I feel would be a reasonable fee and I’ll get on the phone or a Zoom conference with prospective authors and we can go through how I pitch my books and develop individual strategies for those offers.

So, I’ve created a business off of that. And that’s what has caused me to become profitable because I’m helping people either via Zoom video conferencing or helping them develop strategies on how to market their books to libraries.

Joanna Penn: That is brilliant. I’m so pleased you’re doing that because I feel this is such an underserved niche and yet such an important niche. So I love that you’re doing that.

We’ll link to that obviously in the show notes.

Tell everyone where they can find you, and your website, and your books, and everything you do online.

Eric Simmons: You can go to And there, all of my services and books are available.

Joanna Penn: Brilliant. Thanks so much for your time, Eric. That was great.

Eric Simmons: Oh, Joanna, it’s been immense pleasure. I hope it’s been beneficial to your audience. And it’s just been great to finally meet you and to be a part of what you’re trying to do to help others in the self-publishing arena.

The post How To Get Your Self-Published Book Into Libraries With Eric Otis Simmons first appeared on The Creative Penn.

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Author: Joanna Penn

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  • June 5, 2022