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Getting Your Book on a Bookstore Shelf–Fantasy-Author-Fonda-Lee-Criticizes-Barnes–Noble-Stocking-JRR-Tolkien–Robert-Jordan-Books-We-Are-Competing-With-Dead-Guys?utm_content=bufferd5c1b&utm_medium=social&

I’m sure that many of you have read the article and have formed your own opinions, about the author especially. I’ve seen a lot of people up in arms and saying some really unkind and unhelpful stuff. There was something else I noticed about the comments too though. None of them had read Fonda’s books. None of them even had any idea who she was. They all pretty much assumed that since that wasn’t the case, her books just weren’t any good.

It got me questioning some things. Do readers really not know what it takes to be an author on a bookshelf in a store? Do they really believe that if a book isn’t there, it just isn’t any good, and the author should try again? This is sad. Especially when I can tell you story after story about people that have sold hundreds and thousands of copies or given them away for free, but the buyers haven’t read them. So, how do they even know if it’s any good or not?

I can tell you first hand because it happens to me, a lot. I give away free copies like candy. When people read them, I hear about it, and so does everyone they know. They leave reviews sometimes, but I usually end up getting a direct message or an email telling me that it was foggy out where they are and it made them think of me. They’ve called me a bitch for killing a favorite character in a very loving way. They’ve given me ideas for sequels, sent photos for inspiration for more stories. There are a few that have read them, or tried to, and discovered that it wasn’t their favorite genre, too. I can live with that. I don’t expect that everyone is going to love them.

I’m extremely grateful for fans and the people that support me even if they don’t enjoy the books. They know that. I’m open about it. What I’m not open about is the number of people that sit back and wait to see if I’m going to make it big, or crash and burn, before they decide to support me. I suppose I am grateful that they haven’t just completely unfriended me (although a few have) since that is always an option. I wonder where I would be if they did?

What worries me is the sheer number of people that chimed in on the comments of the article and totally downed this woman’s opinion and said they would never read her books, and yet admitted they have no idea who she is or what she has written. She has no reason to complain, she just needs to write better books. As if what she had already written (and is available at the store she is talking about) clearly isn’t good enough.

I don’t know who she is either, but I can understand where she’s coming from. It’s been a lifelong dream of mine to be on the shelves at Barnes & Noble. I’ve not hidden that from anyone. No one except us writers and bookstores themselves has any idea what it takes to get there though. Let me break it down for you.

For Barnes & Noble alone, you have to have a substantial following, and have sold 1,000 copies or more in the past 12 months of that one title (not of your books combined) just to be considered for their shelves. It’s still a hit or miss, and it’s based on whether or not the bookstore believes they can turn a profit or not. If it’s cheap enough for them to not lose much, they’ll take a chance on it. They have to be able to return it and get at least 40% of their money back if it doesn’t. That is information you learn when you try to get into Barnes & Noble on your own.

Here is some more information that you can find directly on their site about how to get on shelves in their store.

“All books will be considered for store placement based on subject matter and salability.”

6. Why should Barnes & Noble place your title on its shelves”

“Tell us what makes your book unique or special. What is your marketing plan? Send us your publicity and promotional plans, along with any reviews or articles that may have been written about your book(s).”

“…bestselling authors are eligible to pitch their book to B&N store buyers. “

“If you sell over 1,000 copies of a B&N Press eBook in 12 months, you’re eligible to pitch your book to B&N store buyers. If your book is selected, we’ll get it in B&N stores across the country. ”

That is not over 1,000 copies of your book anywhere, its 1,000 copies on B&N alone. They don’t care where else it has sold. I’ve done almost copies across 8 books in 3 years, on Amazon. It’s not going to count toward getting my books on the shelf at B&N and Amazon doesn’t have a brick and mortar store.

I’ve been distributing books to B&N since August of 2018. I’ve since sold 10 copies of books total. I’m extremely proud of that. They were freebies and they have yet to be read. They are out there though. I count it as a win. Why does no one else?

I can’t tell you how badly I want to change this. I want to climb mountains and shout into the abyss that it takes a whole lot more than just writing a good book to get there. I want to encourage people to create something, sell at least a thousand of them overnight, and end up on a retailer’s shelf the next day. It doesn’t work that way.

This is a hit or miss game, and we feel like we are missing far more than we are hitting, but we aren’t supposed to say anything about it. This is the response that we get when we do. It’s gut wrenching and I don’t at all blame her for wanting to see it change. I want to see it change too. We are just still trying to figure out how to make it happen.

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