Multnomah County Public Library is about to join the many libraries who encourage their patrons to read local.
The library has just launched a new Library Writers Project, and is inviting both aspiring authors and current indie authors in the Portland area to submit their works for consideration to be added to the public library's catalog.
Authors will have to upload their books to Smashwords, the ebook distributor, and arrange for the book to be distributed through OverDrive. After that they'll have to bring the book to the librarians' attention by filling out an online form.
That's a lot of work just to get an ebook into a library, but to be fair the librarians are also going to put in a lot of work themselves. From The Oregonian:
Beginning today through the end of the year, library panels will screen excerpts of books written and submitted by library members. If they like it, they'll purchase a few copies from Smashwords, and then depending on demand, they could purchase more, said Kady Ferris, electronic content librarian. Books would be available to members next year.
The librarians are going to be solving one of the two main stumbling blocks that keep self-pub books out of libraries: curation, or process of selecting the books patrons will want to read.
Asking that authors submit their books through Smashwords is intended to solve the other related problem: delivery, or making sure that the ebook arrives in a readily ingestible form.
For the current round of the project, the library is only inviting works of adult fiction, and limiting authors to only submitting a single title (but who knows, if they like one book enough to buy it then they might buy others). Only local authors will be accepted (the form asks for your Multnomah library card number), and the submission period closes at the end of the year.
According to the Library Writers Project website, all the submitted works will be reviewed by library staff with a wide range of reading interests. Each book will be read independently by two staff members, and if accepted the book will be bought and added to the library's catalog.
The Multnomah County Public Library will also holding a series of events this fall intended to help the aspiring writer. There will be sessions on kickstarting the creative process and writing for kids, writing within genres, and a day of self-publishing workshops with keynote speaker Mark Coker, founder of Smashwords.
image by EDrost88