The Great Greene Heist Challenge

Updated to add: Thank you so much for participating in the #GreatGreeneChallenge. For all participating bookstores, please email me at vcj (at) varianjohnson (dot) com to let me know (1) that you participated in the challenge (if you’re not listed below) and (2) the number of books sold (if you’d like to provide that information). Again, there will be two giveaways–one for the store that sold the most books and another as a random drawing from all the stores that participated. There will also be separate giveaways for the “one-on-one” challenges.


Thanks to many friends, there’s been a lot of support for me and The Great Greene Heist.

Author Kate Messner issued the first challenge, stating:

“Speaking up is one great way to ask for change. But buying books may be an even better way.

At the end of the day, publishing is a business that needs to make money to survive. Given that reality, the best way for readers to ask for more diversity in children’s literature is not with words and tweets and blog posts alone but also with dollars.”

She encouraged readers to purchase a copy of the book from their local indie, with the idea that enough pre-sales could help the book make the New York Times Best Seller list and send a message that diversity in books matters.

Many wonderful independent bookstores, including Eight Cousins, Inc and Odyssey Bookshop got involved, and then author Shannon Hale upped the stakes, challenging other indies to join into the contest.

It’s all very, very humbling.

It also happened really fast, so we didn’t quite have the logistics in place for the contest. We’re still working out a few details, but here’s what you need to know:

The contest will run from now through June 30. (Pre-sales count as first week sales!)

I’ll be compiling a few sets of author goodies (signed books, swag, free Skype visits) contributed by many wonderful friends and authors.

1) One package will go to the bookstore that sells the most copies of The Great Greene Heist.

2) The second package will be a random drawing of all the bookstores that have “signed up” for the challenge (no purchase necessary, just need to know who you are).

3) A separate set of goodies (provided by me) will go to the winners of each “one-on-one” challenge.

I’ll update the list of giveaways as they come in, but so far:

1) Kate Messner is offering a free hour-long Skype writing workshop that the winning store can use for an in-store event or give away to a great teacher-librarian customer.

2) Grace Lin is giving a copy of The Great Greene Heist (along with artwork!!) away as part of the We Need Diverse Books Challenge and will give each participating bookstore a free print from her etsy store.

3) John Green is generously offering 10 signed copies of The Fault In Our Stars to any bookstore that can handsell 100 copies of The Great Greene Heist in the first month.

4) Skila Brown is donating a signed copies and bookmarks of Caminar, her debut novel-in-verse (which is a Junior Library Guild Selection and the recepient of starred reviews from Horn Book and School Library Journal).

5) Ally Condie is donating a signed hardcover set of the New York Times bestselling Matched trilogy.

6) Janet Fox is donating signed copies of her historical YA Forgiven.

7) Karen Sandler is donating a signed set of her Tankborn trilogy.

8) Author Bethany Hegedus, owner of The Writing Barn, has offered a 3 day/2 night writing retreat for two to the bookstore that handsells the most copies of The Great Greene Heist. The bookstore may gift the retreat to a deserving customer/writer/reader.

9) Signed books by author Donna Gephart.

These are the indies that have taken the challenge so far (that I’m aware of–I’ll update the list as I receive additional names):

One-one-One Challenges:

Eight Cousins, Inc (Falmouth, MA)
Odyssey Bookshop (South Hadley, MA)

Watermark Books (Wichita, KS) 
Blue Willow Bookshop (Houston, TX)

Aaron’s Books (Lititz, PA)
And the Rest of the Best:

While you can order the book from any retailer, PLEASE consider ordering from your local independent bookstore or one of the ones listed here.

Personalized Books:

In addition, I’m happy to announce that my two local indies, BookPeople and The Book Spot, will be selling personalized copies of The Great Greene Heist. BookPeople will also provide a signed copy of The Kelsey Job, a short prequel to TGGH, with each book sold.

If you’re an indie that would like to be included, either leave a comment here, email me at vcj (at) varianjohnson (dot) com, or send me a tweet at @varianjohnson.
And if you’re an author that would like to participate, (1) I would be forever in your debt and (2) email or tweet at the address above and I’ll give you additional details (or send a tweet to Shannon at @haleshannon, and she’ll get the info to me).
I would love for this book to become a best seller, but even if it doesn’t, I am so grateful for all the support is has received so far.

Thank you, thank you, thank you, for taking part in the #GreatGreeneChallenge.

13 Responses to “The Great Greene Heist Challenge”

  1. Aarons Books

    We can't wait to start selling! We're hoping it will top lots of young readers' Summer reading piles. Aaron's Books has challenged From My Shelf and they've accepted… let the handselling begin!! 🙂

    Sam @ Aaron's Books

  2. Literaticat

    I'm curious what the official "dates" are for the challenge – is it ONLY presales, or does it extend into when the book is actually available?

    I ask because . . . well, it's a lot easier to handsell a book that exists, that you can . . . yanno . . . hand people! But if that is part of the challenge, well, ok fair enough. 😉

  3. Eight Cousins

    Given the time difference between Kate Messner's original post and when the book comes out, here at Eight Cousins, we are trying to make pre-sales as easy as possible for interested parties, by putting a buy link on our home page. As for the official dates, I believe Shannon Hale called May 27 (release date) to June 27, so yes hand selling will be possible and will also gives booksellers a chance to request and read the ARC — if you haven't already — not to mention buyers can consider increasing initial orders so we're all ready to go! ~ Eight Cousins

  4. Shoshana

    Can't wait to start handselling at Brookline Booksmith! Is there a mailing list or a central spot in Internetland that we should keep an eye on for updates?

  5. Barbara Khan

    We are brand new, but we'd LOVE to jump into the mix… LOVE a challenge (clearly, I just opened a bookstore!) and am wholeheartedly behind this book / cause! Count me in!

    Jack and Allie's
    Vernon, CT

  6. Varian Johnson

    Shoshanna – The best bet is to both check back here periodically and check in with your Scholastic Rep for updates.

    Barbara – That you for getting on board. Your Scholastic Rep has more details!