THE PERFECT PLACE TO DIE is a Junior Library Guild Pick

I got some good news last week when I heard the Junior Library Guild selected THE PERFECT PLACE TO DIE as one of their gold standard selections. Of course, I can already hear the question coming (What’s the Junior Library Guild?”), so allow me to explain.

Think of the Junior Library Guild as a sort of book club for librarians. Each year, they read through a slew of books sent to them by publishers. Something along the lines of more than 5,000 each year. Of those, their team selects the books they feel are the best in a variety of categories: around 650 a year. Their organization then pre-orders a bunch of the books they select, and offer them to members of the JLG as part of a variety of discount packages.

So what does this mean for my book? Well, for one thing, it’s the first book I’ve had that’s been selected, so that’s a nice perk no matter what. (Though in their defense, my previous books were through smaller presses, which can sometimes struggle to get noticed.) It also means that I’ve sold copies of THE PERFECT PLACE TO DIE before it’s even out, so that’s a nice thing too.

But beyond that, it’s just warm fuzzies to know complete strangers read my book and liked it enough to add it to a “best of” list. Any list, really. And JLG is owned by the same folks who do The Horn Book, Library Journal, and School Library Journal. They like to brag that 95% of award winners were first selected as Junior Library Guild picks, which is a pretty good track record. These days, it’s one thing to publish a book. Pretty much anyone can do that at this point. The bigger challenge is getting people to read the book you published. They have to hear about it and then decide it sounds like something they’d like to read. With so many other books out there, that can be a real uphill struggle.

How do you get people to hear about a book? Word of mouth is a huge driver, but that can only pick up speed if someone has actually read the book first. You can’t say “Have you read” if you haven’t read it in the first place, you know? Goodreads and Amazon reviews help with that. Book bloggers help. Librarians help a lot, acting as a delivery mechanism to getting good books out to readers. So having a recommendation that goes out to librarians across the country is definitely a good thing.

And these days, I’ll take definite good things wherever I can get them.

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