Part 1: The story behind the story
It was Book Expo 2014 and I had this idea. I was going to find the next sleeper bestseller. I always feel like I am not completely taking advantage of all the networking that we do, so I came in with a question to ask booksellers - what's a book you're selling a lot of that you think other stores could sell if they just paid attention to it? I thought about the 200+ copies we sold of The Power of Kindness after one of our sales reps offhandedly mentioned it as a good backlist book at a rep presentation. And I thought about the recommendations in the past that led to sales in the hundreds for books like The True Story of Hansel and Gretel and The Elegance of the Hedgehog, the latter of which went on to national bestsellerdom after a year of sleeper sales at indies.
In both cases, these were books that I could tell from Treeline (a shared bookseller inventory system) that while there were some stores selling these books, sales were not universally strong. I had my own recommendation in mind that I thought was below the radar--The President's Hat, by Antoine Laurain. If you live in the Milwaukee, you might think that Laurain's books are bestsellers at the level of The Little Paris Bookshop, but his sales really depend on a bookstore handsell. Gallic just doesn't have the reach of Penguin Random House (Nina George's parent company) to take something that's working and help it go national. We've sold over 700 copies of Laurain's books and we're looking forward to The Portrait, his first novel, finally translated for English speakers, coming out this summer (June 27, we can hold a copy for you). But that's not what this blog post is about.
So I'm chatting with a few booksellers and most people are coming up with a lot of regional titles, which may or may not travel--we're just going to have the edge on selling Nick Petrie's The Drifter, for example, or books that most indie booksellers are already doing well with. Right now the top 15, for example, is psychological thrillers, award winners, and well-known names, plus Fredrik Backman, but down below that, in the 16-30 range, might be books that we can mine for greater success.
And then I turned to my friend Arsen at Boulder Book Store, and he said that it was funny that I brought this up, because Boulder has a book that they sold over 1000 copies of in the last year*, and it seemed to be off the radar of most bookstores. And sure enough, we looked up the book on Treeline and nobody else was remotely close to Boulder's sales. Was she local? No. Had she done an enormous event there? No. It was just selling like crazy off their front new and noteworthy area. And pretty much for the rest of the show, it was all I could talk about.
That book was You Are a Badass. Upon returning back to Boswell, Jason ordered 15 copies for our impulse table. I'm not used to trends exploding quite so quickly, but two months later, it was on the national bestseller lists. We're not exactly sure what happened, but two of our friends at Perseus Distribution (Sincero's distributor, now a part of Ingram, though her original publisher Running Press is now a part of Hachette) said that that hearing about Boulder's success seemed to have created a sort of Jen Sincero bandwagon. You've read The Tipping Point, so you know how these things sometimes go.
In retrospect, this is clearly the perfect book to break out of Boulder. It's got that classic human potential message of something like The Four Agreements or The Power of Now with a kick-ass update that seems to gel with other breakout books like #Girlboss and Year of Yes.
Part 2: The nitty gritty
So now we're excited to announce a ticketed visit at Boswell for Jen Sincero, the bestselling author, success coach, and motivational speaker who has spent over a decade traveling the world helping people transform their lives and their bank accounts. Her new release is a sequel to You Are a Badass and it's called You Are a Badass at Making Money: Master the Mindset of Wealth.
Per the publisher, You Are a Badass at Making Money is a step-by-step guide to helping people overcome their blocks, push past their fears, and start making the kind of money they've never made before. Written in the same style as her bestselling book, You Are a Badass, her latest work combines entertaining essays with life-changing concepts. Jen boils all her wisdom down into manageable, bite-sized tips so her readers can put them into practice and get real results.
This event is cosponsored by WWBIC, the Wisconsin Women's Business Initiative Corporation. A percentage of ticket sales will be donated back to this organization which fosters entrepreneurial initiatives in our state.
Tickets are $27 and include admission to the event and a copy of You Are a Badass at Making Money. On the night of the event only, a $19 Boswell gift card is available in lieu of the book. Sincero will personalize your copy of You Are a Badass at Making Money, will sign books brought from home, and will pose for photos.
If you are not able to attend, a signed copy of You Are a Badass at Making Money will be held for you for up to six months.
*I think the actual number was closer to 1500, an astounding amount of books to be sold with no national momentum, local connections, or a large event.