Author and Brooklyn Heights resident Jennifer Miller has decided to hawk her debut novel “The Year of the Gadfly” with a marketing plan that is a far cry from all things digital. She’s manning a sidewalk table, lemonade-style, that she calls the “novelade stand.”
The back-to-basics approach to bookselling features hand-written signs and a bowl of candy on Montague Street near the corner of Henry Street, where Miller managed to sell 22 copies of her $20 hardcover over a three-hour period last weekend—fostering more sales than stops on a multi-state book tour. With each copy sold, buyers also got free cookies.
The Brooklyn Paper reports that while Miller’s book was published last May by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, “There’s something refreshing about marketing face to face,” she says. “I really believe in this book and I think that comes across in person.”
The mystery about a young reporter who discovers a small-town secret was deemed “engrossing” by Oprah magazine, while the Washington Post raved that its tale was “darkly comic.” But that didn’t do a lot for sales, she says. “You have a small window to make a splash. I spent seven years writing this book, so I’ll be damned if I’m just going to let this moment slip away.”
That’s when Miller pulled out art supplies and started making signs. She tells The Brooklyn Paper that dozens of Heights residents stopped to ask questions about the book after she put up a sign saying: “Why you’ll love my novel,” with a number asking if was “self-published.” She says she will continue to operate her sidewalk shop throughout the warm months: “I’m throwing everything at the wall to see what sticks.”
(Photo: The Brooklyn Paper)