Do you want your books in Barnes & Noble?
If yes … here’s the truth …
- YOU HAVE TO SUBMIT TO B&N for bookstore consideration and purchase. ALWAYS. You submit to the SMALL PRESS DEPARTMENT.
- And yes, there are hoops you need to jump through.
- What you need is a PLAN … as in a detailed MARKETING PLAN. In other words, they want to believe that you are going to do all your thinking, breathing, and bankbook effort you can to drive people to their bookstores to order your book. In other words, drive book buyers to their stores. It wants to know numbers, projections, what your social media followings are. If you are working with a publicist. The wise author will let the buyer know what is unique/different/sets the book apart from competitors (and don’t be shy about saying why your book offers more than _______ (state the title).
- And, a second “yes” … your book needs to LOOK GOOD at first sight … as in 3 to 7 seconds … it’s competing for “hot” shelf space. That means it doesn’t look like it’s been “self-published” like too many do. If your book looks self-published, you are immediately dinged and mostly liked put in the slush pile. Your book is adios.
- Here’s your third “yes” … your book needs to be professionally edited.
- And your fourth “yes” … your book needs to be available via a distributor, such as Baker & Taylor.
- Send two to three books … they get passed around.
- You do this via snail mail.
Once you have the thumbs up by the Small Press folks, then start connecting with the CRMs (the Community Relations Manager) about doing a signing.
The B&N gods (meaning buyer for the category and whoever else is in the mix at the time) decide if they want to do a “test” … maybe order a few hundred copies … and put your book into “the system”. If you get the “green light”, you now start pushing your tribe to the stores. Set up signings if that’s in your plans. Bluntly, you will do whatever you can to “do your part” and move books off the bookshelves.
That’s it. Good luck if your objective is to have your book in a major chain bookstore. Of course, if you are shooting for independents … then your life just got a whole lot easier. Many indie bookstores don’t have a problem with ordering directly from a publisher (you) … you need the same criteria in that you want a good looking book and will drive people to the stores.
Here’s the contact info—there is some buzz that she may be replaced, but stick with this until I hear differently. Of course, I’ll send out an alert when I know:
Coordinator of Small Press Division
122 Fifth Ave.
New York, NY 10011
And, a PS from me: get savvy about IndieBound.org— the organization for community independent bookstores. Put the image on your website “store”–visitors can discover local bookstores with the input of a zip code.
AND, another PS … get your book up on IngramSpark.com pronto. Indie bookstores can order your book via the Ingram catalog, which means that INGRAM is the distributor … and you will state so in your marketing plan to them.
You are welcome,
Judith Briles is a book publishing expert and coach. She empowers authors and works directly with authors who want to be seriously successful and has been writing about and conducting workshops on publishing since the ’80s. Judith is the author of 36 books including Author YOU: Creating and Building Your Author and Book Platforms (Foreword IndieFab Book of the Year), Snappy Sassy Salty: Wise Words for Authors and Writers and a speaker at publishing conferences. Book #35, How to Avoid 101 Book Publishing Blunders, Bloopers & Boo-Boos has earned 7 national book awards in 2017. Her Latest, How to Create a $1,000,000 Speech is out now. Get your copies now.
Each summer, she holds Judith Briles Book Publishing Unplugged Bootcamp, a three-day intensive limited to a small group of authors who want to be seriously successful. In 2019, the dates are June 13-15. Participate in her Judith Briles Speaking Unplugged Bootcamp held in March and November. Join Judith live on Thursdays at 6 p.m. EST for “AuthorU-Your Guide to Book Publishing” on the Toginet Network at bit.ly/PublishingShow.
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