IWSG — Library Records for Self-pubbed Books?

Today’s the day for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG) where, on the first Wednesday of every month, writers get together to share their insecurities and offer encouragement. The IWSG was created by Alex J. Cavanaugh, and you can learn all about it and sign up for it here. IWSG_Badge

I donated a copy of my self-published book, Lady, Thy Name Is Trouble, to my local library. They said they’d be happy to include it in their inventory, but they need it to have a library cataloguing record out there somewhere, such as in the Library of Congress or on WorldCat.org, for them to download into their system.

I’ve spoken with people at the Library of Congress (LOC), and unless you apply for Cataloguing in Publication or a Preassigned Control Number from the LOC before the book is published, the only way to get LOC cataloguing information for your book is to send them print copies through the copyright registration process and be fortunate enough to have the LOC select the book for inclusion in the Library. No acceptance, no cataloguing info.

I’ve done some research online and found a few companies who will create library Publisher’s Cataloguing-in-Publication (PCIP) / Machine Readable Cataloguing (MARC) records for a price.

For anyone who has self-published a book — how did you obtain library cataloguing info for your book? Did you go through the LOC ahead of time or use some other method? I’d love to hear about it!





© Lori L. MacLaughlin and Writing, Reading, and the Pursuit of Dreams, 2015. All rights reserved.

47 thoughts on “IWSG — Library Records for Self-pubbed Books?

  1. Great post about the Library of Congress and how to get a control number, a process usually overlooked by self-publishers. Thank you for sharing his post.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, and you’re welcome! It doesn’t seem like it should be so difficult to get a self-published book into a library. You can be sure I will remember to apply for a number for my next book before it comes out.


  2. Oh good grief. As if self-publishing weren’t bad enough, now the federal bureaucracy is in your way?? I hope one of you colleagues has an answer for you. I have my own little tale to tell some time about the LOC.

    Have a great weekend, Lori and don’t worry. this will all work out.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I can see that doing it the official way is best, but can’t your library catalogue your book manually? I do that all the time when books don’t have records. It’s a bit more work creating an entry from scratch though, so maybe they don’t have the staff to do it.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m not sure. I thought because I use my own ISBN, Creatspace made it available to libraries and learning institutions, but I could be mistaken.

    IWSG #123 until Alex culls the list again.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hmmm. I wonder how many other libraries are like that? Maybe the secret is to donate my book to another library that doesn’t care if it has the cataloguing information and will create the info for its system. Then it will be in there for the local library to find. I’m going to try that. Thanks!


  5. I hit that wall, too, but thankfully, the librarians at my library had a “around the rules” solution – they put my book in the “local author” section and it’s only in our local library branch and can’t be borrowed by other branches – it’s not a full solution, but I have had a few people I know find my book there, read it, and then move on to read the second book in the trilogy (which isn’t at the library). I would like to figure out the library issue more fully – and I just saw something about this recently . . . some kind of new program for libraries with indie authors. If I find that page, I’ll e-mail a link to you directly. I thought I saved it somewhere.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Nice to see all these helpful tips on this issue! I love this community. Good luck with getting your book on the shelf, Lori! I’ve just been reading about this in The Complete Guide to Self-Publishing by Marilyn Ross & Sue Collier. It’s a little old, but it covers off this type of stuff in the chapter called “Must-Do Important Early Activities.” They might have a copy of it at your library for help with next time around. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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