Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Books In Target Stores

After we write our book and get a publishing contract, or publish it ourselves, the really hard work of marketing and promoting takes over our lives. We invest in some advertising and do a lot of social media marketing, but sometimes it feels like we're throwing wet pasta at the wall to see what will stick. It's often a crap-shoot when it comes to seeing a return on investment in terms of actual sales, not to mention all the time we put into these endeavors - time that we are not using to write that next book.

When it comes to getting books into the hands of readers, most publishers and indie authors target book stores. After all, that's where people go to buy books unless they buy from online retailers. But what about other brick-and-mortar stores?

For a short time I was connected with a group that held signings at Kroger grocery stores in 2012.  When I first heard about those, I was surprised at the idea of selling books along with the lettuce, but I thought, what the heck. It's worth a try. Twice, I went to a store not far from where I lived in East Texas, then my personal life started falling apart, and I had to back out of the program. In my two visits, I sold a handful of books at each, but others in the program sold more, and for some authors it was a fairly successful endeavor.

I couldn't find out if the program is still running. There was no current information on the Internet, with the last reference I could find being this blog post from Marc Liebman about his 2018 experience at the grocery store.

While things worked out okay at Kroger, I've always thought that getting a book on a shelf in one of the large retail stores like Target, Walmart, and Sam's Club, would be better. Especially if that book could be on a shelf in more than one of those stores, and I didn't have to be there to hawk the book.

Some stores have a fairly large section for books, and when I browse the shelves I'm primarily seeing titles from top-selling authors. Any fantasy that I might be entertaining about having one of my books among those others was just that, a dream.

That's why I was so delighted when Arcadia Publishing sent me an email the other day to let me know that my book, Images of America; Winnsboro is going to be in select Target Stores. Arcadia already has an extensive online catalog with Target, but this year they are putting a few select books in a few select stores, and one of those select books is mine.

That's right. I  have a book in Target stores. Doing the happy dance.

Okay. I'm back down to earth now. I know I should probably practice the philosophy of the stoics - free from passion and unmoved by joy or grief, but I can't help myself. It's just the way I roll, as some folks say.

I wonder if  James Patterson has done the happy dance? Maybe he has. Just not in public. :-)

Anyway, this book came to be after a previous out-of-the-blue contact from Arcadia back in 2012, in the form of an email asking if I'd be interested in writing a book about Winnsboro for their Images of America line. They had found me online; probably because I had been the managing editor of the online community magazine WinnsboroToday.com. The acquisitions editor at Arcadia asked if I would be interested in writing a historical book about my small town, and I said, Sure, if it would be okay if I pulled in the official Winnsboro Historian to work with me. I'd not lived in the area long enough to really know the history, or met enough people to try to find the historical stories.

The editor agreed, so Bill Jones and I got together and wrote the book. Bill supplied most of the pictures because of his connections to The Winnsboro News. He's been a columnist for them for many years, so they were quite willing to let him use many of the photographs in their morgue. During the creation of our book,  I did most of the writing, using stories that Bill told me while I frantically typed on my little laptop to get those stories down the way he told them.

Working with Bill on that project was a great experience, and being with this small publisher has also been rewarding on many levels. Not that royalties have allowed either of us to buy a new Ferrari, but the editing and marketing staff are easy to work with, and overall very author-friendly.

Do you have books in large retail stores? Did you get them in yourself, or did your publisher? Have you had surprises like I received from Arcadia that led to great opportunities? Do share.


Posted by Maryann Miller  You can find out more about Maryann, her books, and her editing services on her Website and her Amazon Author Page, read her Blogand follow her on Facebook and TwitterHer online workshop on self-editing, part of a series of online writing workshops from Short And Helpful, can be found HERE

11 comments :

  1. I don't have them in stores, but they are circulating at several libraries and that makes me very happy. Got a letter from a librarian that there was a waiting list and she forwarded my first fan letter from a young girl. Makes it all worthwhile.

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    1. That's great, Diana. Those fan letters are priceless. And I never discount the value of having books in libraries. You never know when some young girl will write you a letter. :-)

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    2. That would make my day, Diana.

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  2. Congratulations on getting your book in Target! I've never really tried to get my books up anywhere other than on Amazon, which was automatic. Maybe someday.

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  3. So cool, and congratulations! Can't wait to see you in Costco. ;)

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    1. That would be great. I'll pass that idea along to the publisher. LOL

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  4. Congratulations, Maryann!! That is SO exciting!

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    1. Thanks, Heidi. I went to a Target store today to check out the display. I might have been a little too eager. LOL I need to ask the publisher if they have the books shipped yet.

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  5. Thanks, Elle. It will be interesting to see how it all plays out by the end of the year.

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  6. That is so exciting, Maryann. Congratulations.

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The Blood-Red Pencil is a blog focusing on editing and writing advice.