Six Reasons I Get Excited When an Author Gets a Book in Walmart

I’ve done more happy dances on the Walmart book aisle than most customers, I’m sure.

Why is that?

When I see a book make an appearance at my local Walmart, I know my author friend is well on the way to earning out the book’s advance.

I did one of my jubilant jigs this past weekend when I visited Walmart and beheld the January release in Barbour Publishing’s new Destination Romances line, A Bride’s Flight from Virginia City, Montana by Murray Pura. And yes, the dance was accompanied by my customary tears of joy as well, causing the three men on the aisle at the time to give me some strange looks. Not that I cared overmuch. As I writer, I know I’m a bit strange. 🙂

The Destination Romances line from Barbour is also known as the Bride/Wedding line. In the odd months of 2012, a historical Bride book will be released. A contemporary Wedding book will be released in even months. I spotlighted the first six books of 2012 in my post, “Barbour’s Bride/Wedding Line: The Fun Begins!

As I stood in the book aisle of my local Walmart rejoicing over seeing the first Bride book of 2012 on the shelves, I imagined myself standing in the same spot six months from now when my debut novel, A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California, could very well occupy that position. Let me tell you, that was a rather heady experience, one that had me hyperventilating and reaching for my cell phone. I had to tell someone the news.

A Bride's Flight from Virginia City, Montana is on the second shelf from the top, at eye level. I raised the book for the picture so more of the cover is visible.

Because it was Saturday afternoon, people were busy. I woke my daughter from a much-needed nap (oops!), couldn’t reach my hubby who was on a bike ride, and caught a writer friend in the middle of another conversation. I pried myself away from Walmart and took my walk, but I wanted to spread my news. Thankfully I reached my mom, who let me share my excitement with her. Let me tell you, my walk had never seemed as short.

When I reached home, I attempted to convey to my husband why the possibility of seeing my book in Walmart had sent me into the ionosphere. (Gwynly, a science teacher, tells me that’s beyond the stratosphere, which pretty much describes where I was hovering. :-))

Since Gwynly is a logical kinda guy and is more impressed with a list of concrete reasons than with my emotional outpourings, I spent some time gathering information to explain my state of giddiness. Here’s the list I created:

Why I Got So Excited About The Possibility of Seeing My Book in Walmart

1. Walmart is the world’s largest retailer, with over 6,000 outlets. This means a book in Walmart will be seen by millions of potential readers.

2. Very few books actually make it into Walmart. Of the over three million books assigned ISBNs each year, only a small percentage make it into Walmart. They aren’t a bookseller. They are a retailer that sells some books.

3. Getting a book into Walmart is difficult. According to the Walmart website, each vendor of any product sold in Walmart must go through an extensive proposal process. Those selling books must contact Anderson Merchandisers, the company that stocks the book sections in Walmart stores.

4. Walmart works with established traditional publishers only, such as Barbour. Walmart clearly states on their website that “Walmart does not pursue self-published books.”

5. Of the few books that make it into Walmart, most were written by big-name, best-selling authors with a tremendous track record of sales. The noted exception is a series of books from a traditional publisher that has already gone through the process of getting approval from Anderson Merchandising. This is the only way a debut novelist can expect to see his or her book stocked in Walmart.

6. The placement of a book on the shelves at Walmart is important, too, and Murray’s book is at eye level, where it’s easy to see. I spoke with the local representative of Anderson Merchandising. She stocks the Placerville, California Walmart and a number of other Walmart stores in the area. The rep showed me the planogram she uses, which is a diagram showing the placement of each book in the section. I had no idea shelf position was dictated like that and am delighted to see Murray’s book get some prime real estate.

Once I shared this information with Gwynly, his excitement grew. Not that his level of enthusiasm matched mine, but he was suitably impressed and is quite happy for me.

• • •

Here are three posts I found that give more information about the process involved in and benefits of getting books in Walmart:

And Now, A Word About Walmart” by Terry Cordingley, Associate Director of Marketing at Tate Publishing

Publishing Insiders Wrap-up: Selling Your Book in Bulk and Special Sales,” a guest post at Authors Marketing Experts, Inc. by Amy Collins, owner of The Cadence Group, a sales and marketing service provider for the publishing industry

Wal Mart, Friend to Authors: Why Writers Should Love WalMart Stores” by Barbara Doyen, Literary Agent

• • •

Do you ever purchase books from major retailers? Why or why not?

How do you react when you see a friend’s book on the shelves at a major retailer?

Did you know how difficult it can be for an “unknown” author to get a book in Walmart?


About Keli Gwyn

I'm an award-winning author of inspirational historical romance smitten with the Victorian Era. I'm currently writing for Harlequin's Love Inspired Historical line of wholesome, faith-filled romances. My debut novel, A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California, was released July 1, 2012. I'm represented by Rachelle Gardner of Book & Such Literary. I live in a Gold Rush-era town at the foot of the majestic Sierras. My favorite places to visit are my fictional worlds, other Gold Country towns and historical museums. When I'm not writing I enjoy taking walks, working out at Curves™ and reading.
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23 Responses to Six Reasons I Get Excited When an Author Gets a Book in Walmart

  1. I didn’t know it was difficult to get a book into Wal-Mart but I can imagine how once it’s there, the author’s name and brand increases. I’ve bought several romance books from Wal-Mart. You can’t beat the price.

    Congratulations on your upcoming book launch, Keli! I’ll be looking on those Wal-Mart shelves for your novel!

  2. Okay Keli, I purchase from my local Walmart all the time. So when (not IF) … when I see you there, even though I know I will have already purchased your book ten seconds after it is available elsewhere, I will do a major happy dance and buy another copy to give a friend !! I have never seen a book by a friend, so you will be the first. If it ever happens to me? Call 911 🙂

  3. I’m so excited for you, Keli! I hope your book makes it there too.

    I usually buy my books at Amazon, for the simple fact that they’re usually cheaper. But I will buy them at Costco or Wal-Mart if I want them more immediately.

  4. What an exciting discovery, Keli. To know that your book will be in WalMart is pretty special and should be an assurance of good sales especially as the series catches on.

  5. I always stop by the book section in Sam’s and Walmart and look for the books of my author friends! I can’t wait until I see your book on that shelf. 🙂

  6. Katie Ganshert says:

    I never thought about this before. Makes sense then, why a publisher would give Walmart a lot of weight when it comes to cover approval.

  7. Cindy R. Wilson says:

    Okay, I didn’t know all this about Walmart before, though it makes sense. That’s cool! I LOVE seeing Christian books in my local Walmart store. And the Barbour Bride and Wedding Line sounds so fun! Can’t wait to see yours 🙂

  8. A big congratulations to your friend, Murray! And an early shout-out to you, Keli! I look forward to seeing your book in my local Wal-Mart (at eye level!). 🙂

  9. i can well imagine your excitement….and the uneasiness of the men in the aisle, as well. 🙂

    had no idea what all went behind getting a book into walmart. i’ve often wondered how books end up in grocery stores…here, christian books end up in this huge discount bin all the time. any ideas?

  10. Loree Huebner says:

    I’m excited for you, Keli. It’s going to happen. I will send a picture from my local Walmart when I find your book on the shelf!

  11. Martina Bedregal Calderón says:

    I mainly buy my books at Ebay or Amazon. We don´t have Walmart here in Kiel, but of course there are other major retailers here.

    And I am very happy for a friend or a writer I like when I see her/his book in the shelf 🙂

    Let´s get your book to Sky, Weiland, Famila, the german major retailers, Keli!! :-))

  12. Sherrinda says:

    Oh yes! Believe it!!! It is going to happen for YOU! I’m so excited about your journey, Keli! It will be thrilling to watch your book make the rounds. I’ll be keeping an eye out for your book…. 🙂

  13. Donna Pyle says:

    This information is so helpful, I had no idea about most of it. I’ll be joining your happy dance when your book hits the Wal-Mart shelves. 🙂

  14. Oh Keli, I can just imagine the amount of tears that will be shed when you see your own book there! I hope you get a picture. 🙂

  15. I have to tell you, I am SO excited my book will be in Walmart too. What a great venue!! I can’t wait to read yours. Woohooo!

  16. Hi Keli!
    I didn’t realize it was so hard to get one in Wal-Mart. I like to get my books on Amazon or, for right now because I have a membership, at Barnes & Noble, so I get coupons. But I do like to browse.

    That’s a great picture of you, BTW, and also I apologize for not realizing that you had switched websites much sooner! I shall subscribe again and like your author page on facebook. Where have I been??? Congratulations on your Bride book. I’ll have to look for it.
    Julie R.

  17. Great information, Keli. I generally make a stop by the book section when I’m in Walmart. I can’t wait to see your book there.

  18. If I ever see a lady doing the happy dance in Walmart, I’ll know its you! You are a sweet friend 🙂 I hope one day, you get to boogy down next to your own book!!

  19. Marji Laine says:

    I will shed tears of joy for you when I see your book at my Walmart! AND I’m SURE I will! 🙂

  20. Gina Conroy says:

    I see MINE on that shelf!! Sharing pic and post!!

  21. Cara Putman says:

    Fun to see my January release in that photo. And in April, my trade will hopefully take the space too. Can’t wait to read your book, Keli!

  22. Keli Gwyn says:

    Cara, it’s way cool to see your book on the shelf! Congratulations!

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