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The Pitch that Launched The Sleepy Little Star

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For everyone who’s ever been told it can’t be done–especially if you are a little fish in this big sea of publishing, I want you to know IT CAN!

Recently we spent three very informative days with moderators, speakers, and B&N buyers at the PMA University in New York City. We were focusing on the rigorous task of getting a book into the bookstores. Although this is almost impossible if you’re a publisher with fewer than 10 titles, we broke the code with our first book!

During Book Expo America in New York right after PMA-U, we found ourselves standing under the banner of the large and prestigious wholesaler Ingram Books. While their appointments had been booked solid for weeks and we didn’t have one, we were determined to try anyway. My partner Wendy reminded me of the past three days of classes and what the outcome would probably be. I then reminded her that our worst-case scenario would be what it already was… “No.” “So, what the heck,” I said. “Let’s give it a try. We have nothing to lose.”

Yes, Yes, Yes

We started off with a nice-looking young gentleman, giving him our pitch. (All the while, I had the book and its companion nightlight in my hands, waving them around, making sure he would see them while hearing our spiel.) He then said that he was in charge of international sales but wanted us to show the book to a couple of other people (at least we hadn’t been thrown out yet!). Things were looking pretty good.

After{>š·econd rep looked at what we had, he ushered us to a third person. She took less than two minutes to look at the book and the nightlight, then looked up at us and said, “I have to have this book!” (By then, I was hyperventilating.)

“You mean you like it?” I said. “You think it’s marketable?” “OHHHH yes,” she replied. The woman then went on to ask us if we would be willing to fly to Nashville and present the project to their specialty sales staff so they could start getting it into nontraditional stores such as Target and Costco for the upcoming holiday season. (At that point, Wendy and I were kicking each other under the table and trying to hide our excitement!) Naturally, we said, “Yes–just say when and we’ll be there.”

Additionally Ingram wants us to pursue more merchandising avenues starting with a puppet and a plush character based on the book.

We dined on the best food and champagne New York City had to offer that night and came home ready to take on the world.

 

And the Beat Goes On

After we got back, using contacts I had with the Academy of Country Music Awards, I arranged to hand out copies of The Sleepy Little Star to all the celebrities backstage. One copy was autographed by all the celebrities and donated to the St. Jude Children’s Hospital Celebrity Auction, which ended on May 28th. The Sleepy Little Star received a total of 83 bids, with a closing bid of just under $290! The media coverage (something I hadn’t even counted on) resulted in 24 live radio interviews with stations all over the country. Talk about guerrilla marketing! And all it cost was 80 books and nightlights.

As a result, we have since been invited to two additional celebrity events, as well as to the Atlanta Literary Festival in September. We’ll see how it all pans out.

So, to all of you who have heard numerous times that it can’t be done, know that it can if you want it badly enough and take the time to do it right. There’s room for all of us in this wacky wonderful world of publishing!

Kymberli W. Brady is the author and publisher of “The Sleepy Little Star”–now available with its coordinating nightlight “for the glow that lasts long after the story’s been read.” For more information, visit www.kymzinn.com.

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