After spending seven years writing her novel The Year of the Gadfly, released in May by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Jennifer Miller determined the best way to get her book into the hands of readers was to take it to the streets and interact with her audience. She created her own version of a lemonade stand - the novelade stand. “I realized that even the very best press doesn't always lead to blockbuster sales,” says Miller. “The Year of the Gadfly received amazing reviews in Glamour, O Magazine, The Washington Post, and many other places--and even with this kind of press, a book quickly fades off the radar if the author doesn't work to keep it fresh in people's minds.”
Armed with perseverance and the promise of fresh cookies to buyers of The Year of the Gadfly, Miller’s idea has led to better results than her previous conventional signings. “I typically sell about 20 books in about three hours. To put this in perspective, I once went all the way to New Hampshire and sold four books,” says Miller. As for the concept's success, Miller believes, “It makes book buying feel unique and personal.”
To keep costs down, Miller targets cities where she has friends and plans to “cover travel costs through event honorariums and freelance articles” in the future. This past weekend in Nashville marked Miller’s sixth novelade stand. Previously, she held four in Brooklyn and one in Manhatten. “When the paperback comes out on May 28, I'll be taking the novelade stand on the road. Right now I have plans to visit Minneapolis and St. Paul, Lexington, Kentucky, and Washington, DC. I'll continue to hold the stands in Brooklyn. I plan to set up a Novelade Stand in every state.”
Miller plans to partner with independent bookstores around the country, and set up in front of the stores with her stand and story.