In advance of the 2014 Book Expo America (BEA), BiblioBoard and Library Journal have partnered to launch SELF-e, an innovative ebook discovery service connecting self-published authors with public libraries and their patrons.
Using SELF-e's submission portal, authors can submit their self-published ebook(s) directly, and Library Journal will evaluate and select the most interesting works for inclusion in curated genre collections that participating public libraries can make available to their patrons all over the United States. Additionally, authors can opt in to include their ebook(s) in statewide collections with other local authors, whether or not they are selected for LJ's genre collections.
With millions of self-published ebooks available to readers via retail channels but not via public libraries, librarians have encountered many obstacles to exposing these works to their patrons. That's been a huge loss for self-published authors, who rely on unfettered access to new readers to build an audience for their work.
Hugh Howey, author of the best-selling Silo series and outspoken advocate for self-publishing, recognizes the untapped potential of libraries for self-published authors. "The number one challenge any author has is building an audience. Libraries can be a powerful marketing force for emerging authors. The SELF-e approach to curation combined with simultaneous user-access will encourage books to be discovered and even go viral."
CJ Lyons, a self-published author who has sold millions of her _Thrillers With Heart _novels, agrees. "Libraries are all about readers and writers connecting. This program helps librarians to better serve readers and authors to grow their audience, creating a perfect synergy of benefit to all book-lovers."
Librarians are similarly excited to find a solution to this challenging problem. "SELF-e represents another great step in BiblioBoard's efforts," says Steve Spohn, project director of the Massachusetts eBook Project, "enabling stronger collaboration among libraries and local authors and furthering libraries' contributions to creative expression and economic development." Spohn is particularly eager to leverage the local author aspect of SELF-e; the parallel submission process allows authors, whether or not they are chosen for the Library Journal-curated collections, to make their ebook(s) available to all public libraries throughout their state.
This is something we're really excited about," says Mitchell Davis, founder and Chief Business Officer of BiblioBoard. "Librarians and authors are natural allies, but the current structure is creating tension. We'd like to alleviate that. Our platform is easy and fun for patrons and librarians, and our partnership with Library Journal will make the selection process much simpler."
As for Library Journal, they're thrilled to embark on this project. "We've been assessing the self-published title landscape for the past three years, and it has been frustrating to see the gap remain unbridged between self-published authors, public libraries and their patrons," says Ian Singer, publisher at Library Journal.
"We didn't want to be another fee-based review service for self-published titles, as that's not providing a solution to authors or libraries. We've been looking for a way to connect the two for their common audience, the reader. LJ's unsurpassed expertise in reviewing titles–-which is critical for library book selection–-coupled with the BiblioBoard platform is a compelling solution to unite all three."
SELF-e submissions will be accepted on a rolling basis, with the first collections to be released early next year.