More about Adirondack Kids Series — Successful Children’s Book Self-Publishing

So here is more of my question/answer email interview with Gary VanRiper, author/publisher of the Adirondack Kids series

Me: Your arrangement of having a publisher as your distributor is interesting. It sounds as though it was someone who worked at the publishing firm who suggested that? or did you approach them? I’m just wondering if this is something other self-publishers could try to copy. So what I’m asking is both, the specifics of how this got set-up for Adirondack Kids and if you have advice for other self-publishers if they wanted to try such an arrangement.



Gary: North Country Books based in Utica, New York is both a regional publisher and distributor. They publish and distribute their own titles, as well as distributing select regional titles from other publishers. The Adirondack Kids® fit their criteria perfectly and so we were added to their catalogue, book shows and personal sales calls. While North Country is our main distributor, we reserved the right in our contract with them, of course, to distribute our books ourselves as well. We sell direct to schools and via the internet and have some stores we deal with personally on a regular basis. Those who self-publish must give deep consideration to how they are going to market and distribute their books.

Me: I noticed your website didn’t list speaking appearances in 2010 yet. Is this just a website update that needs to be made or do you take a few months off from speaking each year?


Gary: We normally update our website twice a year, with main changes in the spring upon a title’s new release. We would like to do it more often, but we are not that website savvy and it is cumbersome and expensive to make a lot of changes throughout the year. We do sell books from the site, but its main value has been for connecting with teachers and librarians for speaking engagements and for reporters who are looking for information. We do have Facebook and twitter accounts, but we do not link to these or anything else from our website, because there are legal considerations with sites for children. So, we keep information contained, simple and clean.

Me: I was impressed by your comment about you visiting the places your stories take place, even taking photos to help the illustrators recreate it accurately. I’m sure that helps give some readers that feeling of “Oh, I’ve been there.” I’m guessing this has made it easier for you to promote regionally. Is that true?



Gary: Absolutely. Places can change, but there is a certain timelessness to the region where our books are set – the 6 million-acre Adirondack Park. I would love to be able to say how clever we are, but much that has happened with our books did not occur by our original design. We did decide to revolve each story around a well known person, place or event, but had no idea families and schools would fashion vacations and field trips based on our stories. We never imagined children would build Pioneer Villages of their own, or play Adirondack Kids among friends. When we first started the series, we certainly had no idea it would fill a niche for New York state’s elementary schools. And we just spoke yesterday to an independent book store owner who began an Adirondack Kids book club several years ago with her group of young readers also traveling to locations mentioned in the stories.

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