It doesn’t happen often, and this reporter can’t recall a time that a sales rep sold a book to the publishing house he represents and then had to sell it to the accounts on his list. But that’s the happy problem that Andy Weiner, who handles national accounts and Western indie sales for Abrams, is facing now that Susan Van Metre bought his debut picture book, Down by the River, to be illustrated by April Chu.
Since the book won’t be published until spring 2018 to accommodate Chu’s schedule, Weiner still has some time. He won’t begin selling to indies until January 2018.
“I originally started writing the story 10 years ago,” Weiner said, “and talked to people in fly fishing and various people in the publishing world and booksellers.” Weiner, who enjoys fly fishing, had contacts in that world from the year he spent working at California Trout, a nonprofit that tries to solve resource issues. Not only did those early bookseller readers encourage him that there weren’t many fly-fishing books for kids and that there is a need, but now that the book has been accepted, some in the Bay Area, where he lives, have already begun discussing book signings with him.
Weiner’s biggest dilemma is that in addition to selling to indies, he sells Abrams’s list to wholesale clubs, like BJs, as well as Amazon. “It’s my book, and I don’t want to give it special attention,” he said, adding, “Is it self-serving to present it to Costco? That’s my job.”
In the meantime Weiner has begun working on a new book, tentatively titled Save the Bookstore Dog, about Sadie, the Vizsla that he and his ex-wife owned. Sadie went to work with her at Cover to Cover in San Francisco.
Despite the excitement, Weiner remains philosophical about his new profession. “If that all fails,” he said. “I’m a book sales rep, and I have a pretty great job.”