Richard Due, author of the B.R.A.G.Medallion Honoree, The Moon Coin, recently had his books accepted into Barnes and Noble brick and mortar bookstore! We asked him to share how he was able to manage this since this is often something most self-published authors are unable to do.
I wish I had a more exciting story to tell, but getting a self-published book into Barnes and Noble is all about time, diligence, and whether or not they want your book.
In a nutshell, here’s how I got the Moon Realm series into Barnes and Noble. Last fall I submitted to their Small Press Dept., at their Headquarters on 5th Ave, in New York. On their website, they said that if I didn’t hear back from them I should resend, as they get 2,000 submissions a week, which means, every once and a while, they have chuck everything and start over. I got a letter back from them maybe two weeks later requesting paperback copies of The Moon Coin (the only Moon Realm book in paper at that time). That was back in November. My next task was to get a distributor or wholesaler. B&N had sent me a list of them. I sent submissions two wholesalers that could work out for me. One replied in a week with a no. The other, Baker and Taylor, took longer. On March 26th, B&N sent me another letter saying they still wanted The Moon Coin, but that since they hadn’t heard from me in a long time, they were going to take their offer off the table 30 days from the date of that letter. That seemed more than fair to me, generous, in fact. It was a bit of a bummer, though, as I’d decided in my mind that Baker and Taylor, not having gotten back to me—I’d submitted to them in January—wasn’t interested in my book. Then, on April 11th, Baker and Taylor sent an email to Gibbering Gnome press saying “We are pleased to inform you that after reviewing your materials, we would like to have your company become a vendor with Baker & Taylor.”
That was a fine day.
Since the second book in my series, The Dragondain, had come out in December, and since my original contact from Barnes and Noble had changed since last November, I decided to send my new B&N contact new copies of both titles. She called a few weeks later to say they were going to order The Moon Coin, and that The Dragondain was now being reviewed by their buyer. During that time, Gibbering Gnome Press set up its account with B&T. I sent copies of books to my contact at B&T at that time, too. Soon, I was in B&T’s system.
On July 18th, the day before I was leaving for vacation, the first two purchase orders from B&T rolled in. So, instead of packing, I spent the evening thumbing through a 55 page document on how to make a proper shipping label for B&T’s warehouse. It involved me—I’m Gibbering Gnome’s typesetter, among other things—generating a label containing six barcodes. I’d never made barcodes before. I mean, I’d order them from Bowkers, of course, but never made them from scratch. By midnight, though, everything was boxed and ready to ship. I did what packing I could, then finished up in the morning. We sent the books off as we left town.
Unrelated to all this, I’d been in contact with a B&N Children’s Book Manager since last summer. Her store is in Utah. She’d contacted me on GoodReads, and wanted to know why my books weren’t in B&N’s catalog, Bookmaster. I’d told her I was trying my best. We kept in contact during this whole process, and, now that my books were in the system, she ordered copies for her store. She’s picked out a display, and Gibbering Gnome Press has sent her posters and postcards adverts.
Now all I need to do is sit back and watch the purchase orders roll in, right? Ha! If only it was so easy! But seriously, my job now is to run around to local B&Ns and independent bookstores, handing out free review copies and letting them know that I’m in B&T, or, in the case of the B&Ns, that I’m in Bookmaster. If I’m lucky, I might be able to get in on a few signings.
All the best,
Author of the award-winning Moon Realm series