Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A Taste of New England

Last week I made a quick trip to Massachusetts. I sampled authentic New England Clam Chowder and real Boston Cream Pie. And I gloried in a bargain shopper's paradise.

Did you realize that over 200,000 Christian products are warehoused in Peabody, MA?

I had the pleasure to visit Christian Book Distributors, to see their packing/shipping operation and meet their wonderful staff. These people know how to market and move Christian product -- and they really like Christian fiction.

Saturday, November 8 was their fall warehouse sale, and they asked Wanda Brunstetter to come and sign books at the event. We were received like family on Friday and given the royal treatment. We were shown through the whole 2-level warehouse where miles of computerized conveyor belts ran through pick stations where real people filled the boxes. Then we were taken to the huge room full of cubicles where numerous calls are manned each day by a cheerful customer service team. The room was festively decorated with product samples, holiday d├ęcor, and personal items.

Next it was on to a conference room where Wanda spent an hour each with two groups of customer service employees. She talked about her writing, answered questions, and signed books. She also did a recorded audio interview with Dianne Burnett, who is the editor of the fiction online store information, that will soon be posted online. We also got a peek that evening at the warehouse sale with time to do some fun shopping.

Saturday the warehouse sale began at 8:00 am, but there were people there at least by 6:00 who wanted to be the first ones in. They came from all around New England, down from Maine and up from Pennsylvania. By the time Wanda was ushered to her signing table at 9:00, there were already a dozen folks in line to see her and 3 cases of White Christmas Pie were already sold though. We estimate Wanda signed over 300 books of various titles for approximately 150 people. They came in droves, standing 30 deep in line most of the time. Wanda took a break at the 11:00 ending time, but she came back and signed for another hour.

After lunch with the CBD staff, we found it rather sad to have to leave our new friends and hit the road. I really learned to value Barbour’s good relationship with CBD and the great way they get behind fiction in particular.

Check out their online fiction store. It can be a value tool for an author to research what is already available in the market and where there may be opportunities for new book ideas.


Pam Meyers said...

Sounds like great fun, Becky. I enjoyed meeting Diane at the ACFW conference in 2007.

Lynette Sowell said...

What a fun trip! Peabody's not too far from my where sisters live. Glad you got to sample the great local food of the area. I love CBD. I shop on line with them a LOT. :)

Carrie Turansky said...

HI Becky,
That sounds like a wonderful opportunity for you and Wanda to meet all the folks at CBD and so many readers. I love CBD and often order from them because we have no large Christian bookstore in our area. They are always quick to send out orders and very helpful on the phone if you have a problem. I can't wait to read White Christmas Pie.

Mary Connealy said...

So, CBD has a huge warehouse with all the products on their website in stock?

that's amazing.

Does Amazon do that too?

And is Diane Burnett in that picture?

I tried to meet her at ACFW one year, because I'd talked to her through CBD and she was so nice. But never managed to track her down. I thought maybe, if I knew what she looked like, I'd have an edge.

Susan Page Davis said...

A lady from my church went to Peabody and told me she met you and Wanda, Becky. It was a real treat for her. I've always found CBD very helpful and cooperative in promoting our books.

Blissful said...

What a great trip. Thanks for sharing.

Becky said...

No, the only CBD employee in the pic is Carol in the navy shirt.

Yes, Susan, we met that friend of yours. It was fun to have the connection.

Annette M. Irby said...

Hi Becky, this sounds like so much fun! I'm way out here near Seattle, but I do receive the CBD catalogs and thumb through. Such fun to picture the warehouse now. As a writer, I'm awed by the wonderful experience for Wanda. Fantastic fun to meet readers and those who work behind the scenes to promote Christian fiction.


Vickie McDonough said...


Sounds like you had a great time. I wish I lived close enough to go to that sale.

Anonymous said...

Becky's right. . .we had a great time at CBD and we some wonderful, helpful people there. It was an awesome experience that I'll always treasure. --
Wanda Brunstetter www.wandabrunstetter.com