A surprise bestseller can give a nice boost to any publisher, and the Perseus Books Group is currently enjoying one of those unexpected hits—and working to keep the sales momentum going.
The company’s Running Press division released You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life, by life coach Jen Sincero, in April 2013. The book had a solid but unspectacular start, doing well at Barnes & Noble and a number of independents. As part of the launch effort, Running Press sent Sincero on a book tour that included a stop at Boulder Bookstore in Boulder, Colo., where the book was an immediate hit (the store has sold about 1,500 copies since its release, and Perseus named Boulder its first “Badass Bookseller”).
Running realized it might have a steady seller in the book, which Perseus CEO David Steinberger described as Skinny Bitch meets The Secret, when it continued to do well over the course of the year, posting increased sales during the graduation and holiday seasons. In hopes of giving sales more of a spark, Running Press created special displays for independents in time for 2014’s graduation season, and the strategy worked. Print sales in May 2014 at outlets that report to Nielsen BookScan were 15% higher than in May a year earlier; from that point word of mouth kept building sales, Steinberger said.
Running shipped 3,960 copies of the title in July 2014, which climbed to 4,889 by December. “[Badass] has had a very different sales pattern than most books,” noted Perseus CEO David Steinberger. The book cracked 1,000 sales in a single week (based on BookScan figures) for the first time in mid-December 2014; it broke 2,000 sales in a single week for the first time during the week of May 10, 2015—another graduation season.
In early 2015, Urban Outfitters began carrying the title, reporting that it has had “blow-out sales,” Steinberger said, (Urban Outfitters does not report to BookScan). Urban Outfitters in the U.K. is now selling the book, and in July Hudson Booksellers began carrying the title, an addition that helped push weekly sales at BookScan outlets pass the 3,000 mark for the first time last week. “Wherever the book has been visible it sells very well,” Steinberger noted. The publisher shipped just under 20,000 copies in June and is using social media, digital advertising, and continuing promotions with accounts to keep the sales going. There are now more than 200,000 copies of Badass in print, and the book is selling more than 1,000 e-books a week.
Shipments of You Are A BadAss by Month
|Month 2014-2015||Copies Shipped|