A Nontraditional Sale
Books are sold in bookstores, right? Or in the book departments of discount stories like Target and Walmart?
Not necessarily. Publishers are always looking for nontraditional outlets to sell books. These include museums, toy stores, gift shops, and the like. They are especially good places because they bring books to where people are, thereby growing the overall readership. For instance, in the 1990s the Black novelist E. Lynn Harris sold his self-published fiction in barber shops and beauty parlors after traditional publishers rejected his work. He became a best selling author this way.
So I was thrilled when my daughter, visiting me in New York City for the holidays, took this photo in Noho of a popular and fashionable kids’ clothing store, Kith Kids. It’s connected to an equally popular and fashionable boutique for adults that regularly draws lines to get in on weekends and before the holidays.
The kids’ store is the international company’s flagship store for the little ones, and they have a small selection of picture books, mostly centered on comic book superheroes, travel, and new books with kid appeal. Kith Kids has carried Ways to Play since September, and it’s apparently one of their top three sellers — hence the window display and more books on one of the lower bookshelves near the cash register.
The salespeople now think I’m cool because my book is cool. I’m debating whether to upgrade my look, or else keep dressing the way I’ve always dressed in the belief that since I’m now cool, everyone else will start wearing what I wear. (Hey, it worked for Kurt Cobain!) They also asked me when I plan to release another picture book. I think I need to write one. I’d love another collaboration with Gabriel Alborozo, who might in fact be the cool one because his illustrations for this book are so adorable and kid-friendly. I want to thank my editor Arthur Levine at Levine Querido for bringing us together and making this book amazing. I’d also like to thank Antonio González Cerna and Irene Vásquez for making sure Ways to Play is getting into the right hands — including places few people would think of for a picture book!
Happy holidays to all!