by Victoria M. Johnson
I first heard about SELF-e at a literary festival I recently participated in. Our town's librarian was handing out SELF-e flyers to everyone and I was intrigued about this new platform.
According to the Library Journal website, "SELF-e is an innovative collaboration between Library Journal and BiblioBoard that enables authors and libraries to work together to expose notable self-published ebooks to voracious readers looking to discover something new."
Many people already know that Library Journal is a highly respected periodical used by librarians across the country. You may not know that BiblioBoard is a platform for libraries to license and deliver digital content for unlimited multi-user access. So upon hearing of this collaboration, I was eager to learn more about it and how it can benefit authors and readers.
What is SELF-e?
Currently libraries pay a high fee to publishers for an ebook and only one user can have it checked out at a time. As you can imagine, it is costly to libraries and readers may have to wait weeks and sometimes months to read a new release. The SELF-e collaboration will provide vetted self-published ebooks to readers who are hungry for more content. Also, any number of readers can check out the ebook at the same time.
Who will do the vetting?
Library Journal will curate the collection; selecting those ebooks they believe represents the best in that book's genre. If your ebook is selected, your ebook will be part of Library Journal's curated modules for each genre, and you'll have a potential nationwide audience. If your book is not selected, you have the option of submitting for the statewide modules with other local authors.
How does SELF-e benefit authors?
There is no cost to authors, but authors will not make any money when their books are selected or read. Authors gain readers and exposure. They get their ebook in a curated collection promoted by a journal that has national recognition. It's an opportunity to be discovered. I asked Los Gatos Town Librarian, Henry Bankhead, his thoughts about SELF-e. "It's a pathway to get your self-published writing read by professionals in the industry and possibly being included in a curated collection for your entire state or the country," he said. "If you're in the state modules California readers will have access to California material, while Massachusetts readers can access Massachusetts material, and so on." (Click the Biblioboard link below to see authors who endorse SELF-e).
How do readers access SELF-e?
It's not available yet. When it becomes available readers will access SELF-e through their library, using their library card--the same way you get ebooks from your local library now. Your library subscribes to it. (You might ask your local library if they will subscribe or if they are collecting self-published ebooks from local authors for this project).
How do authors submit their ebooks for consideration or find out more?
Library Journal site: http://reviews.libraryjournal.com/self-e/
Biblioboard site: http://biblioboard.com/authors.html
FAQs for libraries and FAQs for authors: http://reviews.libraryjournal.com/self-e/self-e-faq/
Submission Page: https://library-journal.biblioboard.com/
If, after checking out the websites, you decide this opportunity is right for you, it looks like it will only take a few minutes to submit your ebook for consideration. Have your metadata handy (keywords).
The only deadline information I found says: Submissions through the Fall
That means if you're unsure if you should submit, don't take too long to decide or the first round submission period may be over. Who knows when the next period will come? Also, don't stall if you're not sure if your ebook is among the best in the genre. The Library Journal website says, "All that is required is an engaging story, and your ebook file."
BiblioBoard's website says, "We believe indie authors, libraries and patrons will work together to play a major role in the future of publishing and the culture of reading."