Last week I managed to get my book, The Last Orphans, on the shelves of nine out of ten of my local Barnes & Noble stores (San Diego area). The tenth store didn’t have a manager available who could process the order, or I’m certain they would’ve ordered some books too.
My publisher, Clean Teen Publishing, paved the road for me because they work with a reputable distributer who sells books to B&N. When The Last Orphans was published last October, Clean Teen told me that our distributer, Midpoint, had sold a bunch of books to Barnes & Noble. I received a sales sheet that told me which B&N warehouses ordered copies of my book. The closest warehouse to me is in Reno, Nevada, and there are more scattered across the country that distribute to different regions. It was exciting, but unfortunately being in the warehouse doesn’t mean the book ends up in a store straight away. It has to be ordered by the managers of each store, who, I imagine, have a lot of books to choose from.
When I didn’t see any copies in my local B&N stores, I decided to try to do something about it. I ordered ten copies of my novel and asked my awesome publisher for a sales packet I could leave with the store managers. The Last Orphans was an Award-Winning Finalist in the Fiction: Science Fiction category of the 2014 USA Best Book Awards, and I put gold stickers from that competition on each of the copies.
I set my sights on my favorite local B&N Store, knowing I’d be more comfortable making the first sale in my stomping grounds. I met the manager and told her about my book, explaining I was a local writer and my novel was in the B&N warehouse. She entered the ISBN, and The Last Orphans popped up on her screen. In less than a minute, she’d ordered copies for the store. My mission was complete—my longtime dream of seeing my book in a bookstore realized!
I left the copy of my book and the four page sales brochure, which included all the information about The Last Orphans and The Harvest, The Last Orphans Book 2. Hoping for future sales, I pointed out that Book 2 comes out April 14 and informed her that Barnes and Noble had pre-ordered a grip of copies. She was super friendly and seemed happy to get a free book.
I walked out of that first store with my confidence boosted. The rest of my stops were much the same. They all ordered my book, and some even said they’d put it on the end cap of the aisle to give it the best chance of getting seen. Plus, the store managers said they’d have the employee who liked my genre read the books I left so they could make recommendations to customers.
I managed to get a lot of books on the shelves. Does this mean I’ll make a lot of money? Maybe, maybe not, time will tell. The hardest part of this whole writing journey has been getting my work in front of people, getting the publicity needed to connect with consumers. I’m hoping I sell out in all those stores, but I’m also content that I’m getting the word out there. If it does result in an increase in sales, I’ll be headed to Los Angeles next. I’m betting there are a lot of B&N stores there!