Thursday, January 8, 2015

Why You Can't Get Your Book In School Libraries

First of all, one day after I posted my goals I missed a day of blogging. Wow.

Okay, now let's talk books. You have an awesome novel for young people that you can't get into the school library market even by giving away? Oh. You happen to be self published and you have an awesome book for young people you can't get into school libraries or even classroom libraries. Those jerks won't let you donate the book. And forget about buying it. It's so unfair.
If you really do have a well edited, well packaged product that they won't allow you to donate, it probably is unfair. But before you put a hex on the school librarian or the teacher who won't put your book in her classroom, you need to get upset with someone else: your self publishd colleague who doesn't use an editor.
What does that Other Writer have to do with this? Everything. Too many self published books do not use an editor. The grammar is attrocious, and before you quote the age old adage "Most people read for story not for grammar," you may be wrong. Some people call me a grammar nazi. If you've read this  blog for anytime at all, you may doubt that. But when I notice a grammatical error it does pull me out of the story. (If it hadn't, I wouldn't have noticed). For a teacher and school librarian, there is something more important than story though. They are working with young people to help them become literate. Teaching basic grammar is imperative to young people, so that they can understand complicated text (be able to read a legal document after high school) and write to a level that would be satisfactory in the work place. I understand in many work places you wouldn't need to be able to correctly use quotations, but in many work places you will need to undestand and apply the rules. So if a young person picks up a book (7th graders aren't going to investigate the publication method.) and sees something completely opposite of what they've been learning they will either become confused or assume school is wrong--this is a professional author, after all. Worst? What if the student really enjoyed that unedited self published book? Well, the purest form of flattery is imitation...
Educators have enough to do. They aren't usually looking to make their job harder. Those jerks are afraid to put your book on the shelf, not opposed to it. So how do you get around this? 1) Demand more professionalism of your colleagues. You're not going to get far with this option though. They don't care if they slaughter the English language. Their primary concern is spending no money and making as much as possible. 2)Meet people. Befriend a teacher or librarian. A bookclub may be a good way to do this. Get to know people in the education industry. If they your process, it might be easier for them to put your book out. Once you've been included in  a school or classroom library cite this in your next query. "Mrs. So and so at X school just put two copies of this in the library." This is the best advice I have for you.


  1. Self publishing is too easy for some people. Writers need to go through the fire of criticism, beta readers, and rejection before their work is honed into fine Toledo steel. Too many skip this stage because it's painful. Who wants to hear that their baby sucks? So they ask family and friends to read their "stuff" so all they get is applause.
    Horrible. And in the end, it hurts us all.

  2. I'm all for using an editor, but I am an editor so… ;)