On September 2nd, New Adult pioneer Jamie McGuire announced a ground breaking
distribution deal for indie publishing. For the first time ever, the books that she has put out on her own are going to be available in a brick-n-mortar superstore, specifically Walmart. McGuire jumped out ahead of the New Adult trend years ago when she published Beautiful Disaster, and she's stayed ahead of the curve ever since. But with this deal, she's actually laying new ground for indie and New Adult alike.
Many independent authors have worked on getting print versions of their books into a variety of locations with great success. Booksellers like Barnes and Noble have developed a navigable system for getting books into their stores, and smaller independent booksellers often have similar opportunities for self published authors, especially local ones.
But, as we all know, traditional booksellers have struggled recently, competing with Amazon and other channels online as well as big box superstores on the ground. While most groceries and drugstores have always had a small paperback selection, the big superstores are different. They have well developed book buying departments, and the preorders for their catalogues, as well as their in-store placement, play a huge role in the success of new print books.
Until now, those choice spots have been filled by book publishers. But not anymore.
Author Magan Vernon considers McGuire the "Godmother of the New Adult genre" and hopes that this deal will open the doors for author indies to go national in the big box stores as well. With the third and fourth books in her Paper Heart series coming out this fall, she too has been personally exploring individual distribution options with the big box stores. "I've talked to the local Costco," Magan shared. "They are always interested in new authors. Something with mass appeal that doesn't have too sexy of a cover appeals to a wide audience. They also love to do weekend book signings with the authors present, right next to the book aisle and food samples." Getting into the store requires an upfront investment from the author, who needs to change her print publishing vendor and invest in ISBNs to make it viable for the store to order from her. But Vernon thinks it's going to be worth it. And we agree.