SELF-e [not to be confused with the ‘selfie’ photo-sharing craze] is a self-publishing software, which should be on every indie writer’s radar. As the latest in a series of collaborative platforms that have launched recently [see previous posts on Widbooks and Fast Pencil], SELF-e enables public libraries and self-published authors to engage with some new 21st Century technology.
Today’s evolving libraries . . .
In order for libraries to stay current and break out of their ‘hallowed hall’ limitations of the past, they, like indie authors have been looking for new ways to embrace the Digital Age. If libraries had remained the traditional depository of books categorized by the Dewey Decimal system, they may have gone the way of the dinosaur. But that outdated model lacks what today’s librarians and authors are seeking.
Co-produced as a joint initiative by library eBook platform BiblioBoard and Library Journal, this platform is your conduit for submitting self-published works directly to a library. “It was conceived to address an ongoing challenge for libraries: cataloging and providing access to self-published eBooks by local authors,” notes Guy Gonzalez, director of content at Library Journals.
The Los Angeles Public Library (LAPL) is one of five beta testers for SELF-e, along with San Diego County Public Library, Ohio’s Cuyahoga County Public Library, the Arizona State Library (through Reading Arizona), and the State of Massachusetts (through the Massachusetts eBook Project).
According to Gonzalez, “Biblioboard has the innovative technology that powers the platform, while LJ has the editorial expertise to curate the selections.”
The process . . .
Libraries have struggled for years to find an efficient and easy way to make eBooks available to readers from local authors. The SELF-e platform initiates a process for public libraries to accept self-published submissions from their local authors — and in turn, add these eBooks to their inventory.
As part of the new offering, libraries can also make eBooks available to patrons with no checkouts or returns, and no multi-user limitations.
For an author’s submission, “our process primarily focuses on two things. Readability is very important. Has it been edited for clarity (typos and tone), does the story hold up throughout? Also important, is there an audience for it, and would it be a good addition to a library’s collection?” notes Gonzalez.
“Ultimately, we want to help libraries provide access to good stories that they’d be unable to acquire otherwise and/or be extremely limited in their ability to share them with patrons, and to help authors connect with new readers without paying for yet another ‘service,’” adds Gonzalez.
Promotional opportunity . . .
If selected for the SELF-e curation process, an author’s eBook will become part of a modern-day discovery system. As a new promotional tool, an indie author’s work will now be available for patrons to read eBooks on any device, at any time. The free service is available to all authors with electronic rights, no matter which self-publishing service(s) they used to self-publish their work.
Testimonials . . .
As many of you are aware, there are a good number of reasons why we’ve all chosen to self-publish. While our individual goals might differ, the one common denominator intrinsic for the majority of us is our desire to build a fan base. With SELF-e, some of the most notable self-publishing authors have vetted this platform as an innovative opportunity to build readership.
Celebrated indie author Hugh Howey whose Wool trilogy series has sold millions of copies is a strong advocate of the SELF-e technology. He bestowed high praise when he noted recently “the SELF-e approach to curation combined with simultaneous user-access via public libraries will encourage books to be discovered and even go viral.”
CJ Lyons, also a best-selling self-published authors, notes, “Libraries are all about readers and writers connecting. Since so many of my new readers discover my books via their local libraries, it’s vital that all my books, whether traditionally published or self-published, be easily accessible to library patrons. This program helps librarians to better serve readers and authors to grow their audience, creating a perfect synergy of benefit to all book-lovers.”
Founder of BiblioBoard, Mitchell Davis says, “Authors selected for SELF-e get a ‘badge’ for their book and marketing materials, exposure via Library Journal and inclusion in a service that will reach millions of potential readers. This is a marketing exercise for them to have their writing discovered.”
Ready to take a SELF-e?
With SELF-e, libraries will be able to transcend their historical brick and mortar constraints. No longer just a venue for patrons to read books, with SELF-e, they will be able to reinvent themselves as content creators as well.
Libraries interested in SELF-e can request a trial or can contact them by email for more information. And for indie authors who’d like to opt-in to make their eBooks available in public libraries, you can start the process here.
It’s noted that the submission process takes only 5 minutes. And for those who’ve either experienced the platform or will be doing so in the near future, we look forward to your feedback in the COMMENT section below.
Best of luck - here’s hoping that your SELF-e brings a smile to all participating faces!
Readers & Writers: I look forward to your feedback, comments and critiques, and please use BookWorks.com as your resource to learn more about preparing, publishing and promoting self-published books. My blogs appear bi-weekly on the 1st and 3rd Fridays of each month.
[Header photo by user tweng on Flickr]