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Wednesday, April 8, 2015

How to Get Your Books into Barnes & Noble Bookstores, by Stacy Padula

When someone figures out how to get their books into bookstores, I (Lorilyn Roberts) want to know more. I have not been able to break through that barrier, but after reading about Stacy Padula's success, I'm determined not to give up. A lot of marketing is about getting inspired, so Stacy has inspired me to try again.

I asked Stacy to tell us how she did it. But first, let me share a few things about Stacy. I met her a few years ago through the John 3:16 Marketing Network. She has continued to publish more books since then, which is important. It's hard to become a best-selling author with only one book.

When we had an opportunity to get John 3:16 books into the Florida prison system, Stacy was one of first to donate her books. Soon afterwards, Steve Fox, the chaplain at the prison, told me how much the prisoners enjoyed her books. They were the prisoners' favorites! Yeah, I was a little jealous, but mostly, I was thrilled that the prisoners were reading Christian books, reviewing Christian books, and enjoying the Christian books we sent them, especially hers. It wasn't long afterwards that I saw on Facebook that Barnes & Noble would soon be carrying her books in bookstores.

After all the raves about her books at Wakulla Correctional and hearing about her success getting books into the Barnes & Noble Bookstores, I asked her to share with us how she did it.  Enjoy!


by Stacy Padula

My books were published by Strategic Book Publishing, which is a semi-traditional publisher that offers print on demand. I didn't have to pay for publishing, but I did have to pay them a small fee to market my books and another fee to make them returnable. 

They published my first book The Right Person in 2010, When Darkness Tries to Hide in 2011, The Aftermath in 2013, and both The Forces Within and The Battle for Innocence in 2014. I have enjoyed working with them throughout the entire process, and they have been kind enough to feature me on the homepage of their website. They set up my books to be sold on Amazon and Barnes & Noble online, but in order to get them picked up by Barnes & Noble stores, I had to write a letter to the corporate headquarters. 

There is a small press division to which I addressed my letter and sent copies of my novels. In the letter, I shared my qualifications, my marketing ideas, the fact that my books are returnable, and why I believe my books should be on the shelves. I was advised by my publisher to keep my letter short and to the point. It has been a pleasure working with the small press manager. I originally sent in my two novels, and then I was asked to submit my other books too. I am actually planning to send out that submittal this week! :)

These are the basic guidelines that my publisher told me to follow:

"Send them a copy of your book with a brief cover letter (I would suggest sending the soft cover as that has been what they've been accepting lately). I also suggest making your cover letter short (think of a resume-you want to be respectful of their time and only hit on keys points). You'll want to include any marketing and promotion plans, trade reviews, and a sentence or two describing how the book meets the competition (what makes it unique) to:

The Small Press Department
Barnes & Noble

The information must include the ISBN and the suggested retail price and please note that it's returnable. Again, think of it as a resume with bullet points so it's easy for the buyer to get the info quickly. The review process takes about six weeks. The Small Press Department responds to all submissions in writing so please make sure that your cover letter has your return mailing address on it. Please include your phone number and e-mail address as well."

I sent the letter late summer/early fall and heard back by way of mail in November. 

My twitter is @MLHBookSeries
My books can be bought online through Amazon:

Stacy Padula is the Manager of Curriculum & Instruction at JBG Educational Group, a company of about thirty educators who work closely with young adults and their families on everything under the academic blanket. In addition to tutoring, college consulting, educational advocacy, life coaching, and academic coaching, Stacy specializes in working with troubled youth. JBG Educational Group counsels families, as well as works in conjunction with students’ therapists, doctors, and school systems.
Each week, Stacy works with students, on a personal, one-on-one basis. As a college consultant, tutor, advocate, and academic coach, Stacy serves as a mentor to her students—age twelve to eighteen—and guides them through not only academic, but also social and emotional hardships.
Stacy wrote the Montgomery Lake High books in the hopes of preparing teens to face the “war zone” that is high school–-to help kids deal with the stress and peer pressure, and to encourage them to “steer a straight path, pursue God, and not fall for the false promises of the world.”

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this outstanding article, Stacy. Thank you also, Lorilyn, for posting it. I am in the process of contacting B & N to get my own books on their shelves.

    I so appreciate the John 3: 16 Marketing Network!