Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Barnes and Noble backs the book

Our first book, Kids Show Kids How to Make Balloon Animals, was off and running, and not doing too badly. Hilariously, Klutz made a balloon book that came out almost simultaneously with ours. I watched the Amazon ranking of both with a bit of stalker glee, and was a little surprised at how well they both did.

We bought the Klutz book and loved the colorful images and fun designs. The book was much harder than ours, though, and soon the reviews reflected that.

Our Magic Camp connection came through during a week of promotion at one of the big Barnes and Noble stores in town. One day was dedicated to balloon twisting, so the authors were invited to assist in a demonstration on how to make basic balloon shapes.

Barnes and Noble decided to stock the book in their store, with 10% of the profits going to help raise money for kids to get scholarships to Magic Camp. I checked the Ingram account a few days later and saw -- gulp -- they'd ordered 50 copies. Visions of returns began dancing in my head. But we'd do the best we could to sell them.

We fixed a few mistakes we'd made at the festival. The girls dressed in their outfits from the book so they'd be instantly recognizable. We brought easier pens to sign the books with (Sharpies only, people!)

What a great event. Dozens of kids showed up. The girls worked the crowd and helped the kids as the Magic Camp instructor explained the steps to twisting. Elizabeth got on stage and showed everyone how to make a balloon bee.

We sold a good chunk of the books. They probably had 15-20 left.

(Update: Barnes and Noble kept these books in stock and never returned them. In fact, after we altered the cover many months later, I went back and bought a few of the originals--I'd sold out of stock suddenly and had no first editions--and the sales lady went on and on about how the girls had come out to the store last fall and how adorable they were--and this was definitely the best of the balloon books--perfect for birthday gifts. I could not have stepped any more lightly as I left.)

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