Saturday, May 6, 2006
Dear Mr. Zenz,
I am the head of the childrens department at a bookstore, and I wanted you to know that I just sold my 101st copy of The Hiccupotamus. Trust me - that is rare. The average sell-through for new hardcover picture books in my store is about five. The truly exceptional titles by popular authors (one or two a year) may sell fifty, if I'm lucky. But The Hiccupotamus is so delightful, so colorful, so fun, that it has been easy to "champion." I use it as the answer to a variety of customer questions:
What do you suggest for a baby shower gift?
What should I donate to my first grader's school library, or classroom?
What would be good for a storytime?
What has colors that will perk my child's interests?
What has rhymes that will make my child laugh?
What book has hidden bits of humor to make adults laugh as well?
What is your favorite new picture book this year?
It also answers the question, "Why do you like selling childrens books?"
Answer: "Because I get to sell books like The Hiccupotamus."
My peers at the bookstore (who tend to be afraid of the kids department) have picked up on my Hippo enthusiasm and recommend the book in my absence. The managers ask for a report weekly on Hiccupotamus sales. And everyone suggested that when I got to 100 copies sold, I should write to you . . . so here I am.
I wish you the best of luck in future publishing. I also hope that you will continue to supply Hank P. with work, because his facial expressions are worthy of an Oscar. (My young niece has personally requested "Something Squishy" - just a thought.)
My best to you, your family, and the characters you bring to life.
Meg Schwarzmueller Kuta
(Update: Making note that The Hiccupotamus has defied the normal life-cycle of a book, less than 4 months later on Sept 4 Mrs. Kuta reported her 251st copy sold!)
(Update #2: Just 3 months after that, on Dec 21 Mrs. Kuta reports the 501st copy sold!)