Tuesday, August 18, 2009

In the Halls of Barnes & Noble

Hey, if any of you guys are getting bored (or bugged) by these email newsletters, please let me know and I’ll take your name off the list.

So, after my friend Matt Farinelli shared his Barnes & Noble story, here are a few more.

Some of the news is good … some disheartening. Just remember, each B&N manager has a lot of discretion in how and which books are displayed in their stores. So even though the sales agreement may say ‘main aisle placement’, it’s often just a suggestion, not a requirement.


My wife, Andrea, and I spent all day Saturday going to almost every Barnes & Noble in Manhattan. We were armed with hundreds of Sacred Cipher post cards, a very good pen, and the knowledge that an author can ask to sign the store stock and the store will put a green "Autographed Copy" sticker on the front of the book. Also, the largest B&N stores in the nation were scheduled to promote The Sacred Cipher with a table placement in the 'main aisle' between August 11 and 24.

So we'd go into a store and I'd say to Andrea, "Now, we won't ask to sign the books until we can find the display in the main aisle and you can get a picture of me with the books on the display table."

But not one of the stores had the book on display. Not one.

At most Barnes & Noble stores, the Christian Fiction rack is in the farthest, backest, leasest corner of the store, and usually comes after the Gay and Lesbian, and the Middle Eastern Mystic sections. Farthest, backest, leastest can be the basement, or the top floor or around the corner, down the hall, out the back door and around the block (well, maybe not that far).

In every store we did the 'search the store' thing, looking for the table display promotion. In every one, we ended up in the farthest, leasest, backest. And there it was, on the shelf.

So, like any self-respecting author who wants to sell books, Andrea and I went to the good, old, Customer Service Desk, presented my card and one of the 5,000 promotional post cards I got from Kregel, and asked if I could sign the store stock. "Sure," they said. "We'll just go and get them."

Which gave me the opening I was looking for.

"Oh, where are they? On the shelf? Oh, well, aren't they supposed to be in a table placement promotion in the main aisle? At least that's what I've been told. There's supposed to be a promotion between August 11 and August 24th, right?"

So they would go to their computer, tap a few keys, find The Sacred Cipher, click on 'Promotion' and up would pop ... what do you think? ... "Table Placement Promotion - main aisle."

And, in all but one store, they said, "Oh ... it's supposed to be on display." So they did. Now, each store displayed it differently. And I don't think it ever made the main aisle - you know, the one with tables filled with all the best-seller book names.

But, hey, I was just happy to get out of the backest, farthest, leasest. And into the light of day.

So, once the book was out where people could find it, Andrea and I went out and stood outside the front door of the B&N store and handed out my Sacred Cipher promotional postcards to people entering the store.

Now, in New York City, you get darn tired of people trying to shove something into your hand nearly every day of the week. So I was skeptical of how well this would work. But it did. You know why? Because the cover of the book is soooooo interesting, people would be rushing past, take a look, slow, look again, then take the card. All the while I'm giving them my sales pitch.

And a number of people even turned back to me, smiled, and said "Thanks."

Can you imagine that! In New York City?

Here’s the funny part. We must have given out - maybe - 200 ... 300 postcards over the course of the day? And you know what the total number of copies the stores had? 40! All together, in all of Manhattan, B&N stores had 40 copies.

So ... man ... I hope we created a BIG demand here in NYC. A demand that will get filled, even if B&N runs out of copies.


Here’s an experience my friend, Stew, had in Florida:

Just a note to say I bought Sacred Cipher for a friend in the B&N in The Villages here in FL. It appeared to be the last one, but I was disappointed to see it in Christian Fiction. The Customer Service person found it for me.

I told her they would sell more if placed in the section with Dan Brown's book. She was not responsive to that comment.


And this, from my sister-in-law in New Jersey:

My friend, Pat, needed a new coffee table & asked me to go with her to Raymour & Flanigan in Exton, PA.

Pat & I were greeted at the door by a very nice young lady named Angela, a Home Furnishings Consultant. As she was writing up the sale in the computer, I asked if we had enough time to go across the road to Barnes & Noble to see if my brother-in-law's book was on display. Angela was curious & asked the name of the book & what it's about. When I said, "The Sacred Cipher" by Terry Brennan, she said, "I've seen that book on Dan Brown's website."

I happened to have a copy of the brief synopsis that was posted on the Internet. I gave her a quick narrative about your background & that you are a first-time published author. When I read it, she got very excited & said, "Oh, I definitely have to buy this book".

(Neither the B&N in Exton, nor one in Marlton, NJ, had the book on display)

Please send me some of the postcards so I can give them to my friends & relatives. It seems that word of mouth, e-mails & blogs just might be as powerful as having the book in stores.


Okay, so mabe it's not shelved near Dan Brown's book in the Barnes & Noble, but each of you can go to Amazon.com (as I did) and click on what book you think The Sacred Cipher is most like ... or what author. If you click on Dan Brown, whenever someone goes to look for his book, Sacred Cipher should also pop up as, "People who bought this book also liked ....."


Here's an excerpt from a new review. Betty Bantz reviews more than a dozen books a month on her website. This one is short ... but oh, so sweet.

"Truly this is an epic of Raiders of the Lost Ark proportion, only better. Its historic integrity is phenomenal, the pace superb. And the ending is more than satisfying, more than plausible; I can’t wait to see if it actually takes place in the very near future, ushering in the second coming of Christ Jesus.

Action adventure at its best, I highly recommend Terry Brennan’s debut novel The Sacred Cipher. It’s the best book I’ve ever read, bar none."

Thanks a bunch for all your help.


1 comment:

Brian said...

I bought a copy from Barne and Noble and finished it last night. Congratulations on a fine novel with a great storyline. I enjoyed your work a lot. Thanks.