Sunday, March 6, 2011

“365 Things” for sale at Wegmans

My chunky little anti-boredom book 365 Things to Do Before You Grow Up is coming to a checkout line near you (if you live in one of the following states: New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia, Maryland, or Massachusetts).

I pitched the book to popular supermarket chain Wegmans, and to my pleasant surprise, they placed an order.

Actually, I don’t know for certain if it will be an impulse-buy item at the cashier, but I suggested that, including the word “little” to perhaps increase the chance.

The reason I thought the book might be a good fit for Wegmans is that the store markets itself as a place for healthy choices (its site says “Eat well. Live well.”) and the book contains a good number of family activities related to healthy living:

activity #8—grow a salad

#56—make a meal for your family

#114—try new foods

#149—create a menu

#159—stay healthy

#167—toss a rainbow salad

#232—dry fruit

#243—clean naturally

#249—make your own potato chips

#250—run a taste test

#305—mix up your meals

#324—invent a stew
#343—make your own granola

#360—make a lunchtime surprise

The Wegmans rep was responsive and even collaborative, asking me for ideas on marketing the book in the store. Always like to hear that!

Normally, it’s not authors who pitch buyers of big chains. But publisher sales reps can cover only so much ground, and sometimes it takes more than one voice to get a buyer to notice a product. In my experience, as long as a pitch is brief, relevant, and professional, it couldn’t hurt.

Part of the reason a buyer might not mind a pitch directly from an author is it’s often hard to find out who the buyers are; I suspect most buyers rarely get pitches from authors. (To be sure, some buyers and/or publishers discourage authors from doing this. In this case, my publisher, Sterling, was supportive.)

In the end, and from the start, the publisher and the author are a team. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter who catches the attention of a buyer. If it leads to a sale, both benefit.

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