Bookstore & Book Signing FAQ

Attention, authors! We are excited for our new bookstore and book signing format at HNS2019. If you have participated in the past, please note the new process for including your titles in the book store and book signing.

Due to our contract with the Conference Bookstore (Barnes & Noble), books may only be sold through the Conference Bookstore. All participating authors may select up to three of their titles; however, the bookstore has limited space, reserves the right to decide which titles it will carry, and can only order titles on file with major distributors.

  • FOR TRADITIONALLY-PUBLISHED BOOKS/TITLES, please provide up to three titles and ISBNs on the registration form.
  • FOR SELF-PUBLISHED BOOKS/TITLES, please ensure that your titles are available through IngramSpark. More information on this process is in the FAQs below. Indie authors may also select up to three titles.

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 What are the benefits of having my books available at the Conference Bookstore?

  • Your book will be out for display on a table for two full days of the conference, viewed and perhaps purchased by 400 other historical fiction lovers, as well as Readers Festival participants.
  • Potential buyers will see it, pick it up, read the blurb, admire the cover, etc. Even if a purchase is not made in the moment, you are building name recognition for a potential future buy.
  • You will also have an opportunity to provide the book store with 12 signed book plates (please bring your own), which they will use inside future buys of your book. ONLY AUTHORS WITH BOOKS IN THE BOOK STORE WILL HAVE AN OPPORTUNITY TO DO THIS.

What’s new about the book signing venue for 2019?

  • LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION. We are using a unique space within the Gaylord that opens out into the main atrium, putting the book signing in full view of guests coming and going. The Gaylord is a 2,000-room property, so that’s a lot of people walking around and stopping by to visit our authors.
  • A DIFFERENT LAYOUT. In previous years, we have organized the signing by author last name. This year, the book signing will offer readers a “passport around the world,” arranging authors by time periods, with signage directing readers to tables where authors are seated by popular historical eras. That way authors can have exchanges with other novelists whose books are set in the same era or location. Additionally, we will be providing extra chairs at the author tables, so that readers can more easily engage in a conversation with authors about their books.
  • OUR NAME IN LIGHTS. We are working with the Gaylord to have our book signing included within the National Harbor calendar of events where the Gaylord is located. National Harbor is a large tourist location with lots of summer visitors. Plans are also afoot to promote the book signing through multiple online avenues.

 What happens if not all of my books sell at the conference?

  • Barnes & Noble requires that the books be returnable. Understandably, this can negatively impact authors both in the traditionally published and indie markets. Bear in mind that the average author will have fewer than 15 books total offered in the book store. Barnes & Noble will make purchasing estimates based upon the sales history of each author. Their goal is to sell out of your books, not to have a lot of returns.
  • One option that may appeal to those trying to avoid returns is that Barnes & Noble will make any remaining books available for author purchase at 20% off the cover price. If you have books left over after the book signing ends, this may be an opportunity for you to get a few author copies to have on hand.

Why must self-published titles be available through IngramSpark?

Barnes & Noble only purchases books through major distributors, such as Ingram, Baker & Taylor, Penguin Random House, etc. For self-published authors, Ingram’s IngramSpark program offers a method for making titles available through the Ingram system.

Can I bring my own titles to sell on consignment?

We were not able to find a bookstore that could handle consignment sales and regular sales on the scale that we require. We do not allow authors to conduct their own sales as it is not fair to the bookstore which invests considerable time and money in setting up the on-site bookstore for us.

I only have an Amazon ASIN. How do I get an ISBN to use on IngramSpark?

ISBNs are provided by Bowker. Go here to purchase them. ISBNs can be purchased individually, in groups of 10, or in groups of 100. You may want to search the Internet for a current coupon code.

As soon as you have your ISBNs and have attached titles to them, you are ready to add them to your registration form.  BUT you will need to continue the process by setting up your title(s) in the IngramSpark system so that Barnes & Noble can actually order them.

Where do I go to get my title(s) set up on IngramSpark?

You can complete the title setup process to qualify for IngramSpark’s distribution services here. Review this information soon, as it can take up to 8 weeks for titles to initially be processed into the Ingram system.

Be sure to set the following parameters for your title(s):

  • 55% discount (the same discount traditionally-published titles offer)
  • “Yes” for returns (the same as traditionally-published titles)

Barnes & Noble will not purchase your books if these parameters are not set.

Can I get the setup fee on IngramSpark waived?

Good news! HNS has a special code, HNSPARK, that you can use to waive the $49 setup fee for print titles and the $25 setup fee for ebooks. Please note that the code is case-sensitive and it expires on April 30, 2019.

How long does it take for my book to be made available from IngramSpark?

It can take UP TO 8 WEEKS to get your book approved through the IngramSpark system, so we strongly encourage you to begin the process as soon as you read through these FAQs. The bookstore will be ordering books in early June and we don’t want you to miss out!

Can you summarize the steps for getting indie titles ready for the conference?

Sure. If you would like to have your titles offered in the Conference Bookstore and/or participate in the book signing, you need to do the following if you have never done so before:

  1. Obtain an ISBN from Bowker for each title (up to 3) that you wish to have included in the Conference Bookstore. You cannot use an Amazon-issued ASIN. You can then add your titles, using your assigned ISBNs, to your registration.
  2. Set up your title(s) at IngramSpark.
    1. Use the coupon code HNSPARK (case sensitive) to get your setup fee waived.
    2. Be sure to set your parameters to a 55% discount and YES to returns. BARNES & NOBLE WILL NOT ORDER YOUR BOOKS OTHERWISE.
    3. You will want to start this process right away, because it can take UP TO 8 WEEKS for IngramSpark to process a book for the first time.
  3. Make sure to bring 12 signed book plates in an envelope with your author name on it, so that Barnes & Noble can use them for future book sales in their store. Only authors with books in the book store may provide signed book plates.
  4. As a reminder, Barnes & Noble will NOT order books from Amazon, LuLu, iUniverse, or any other outlet that is not in their distribution channel.

I’m having trouble setting up my title(s) on IngramSpark. Who can I contact?

Reach out to IngramSpark’s customer service help at

I have a question about making my title(s) available for Barnes & Noble and need to talk to a bookstore representative. Who can I contact?

Send an e-mail to Several people monitor this e-mail, which goes to the Potomac Yard Barnes & Noble, the store handling the Conference Bookstore.  Make sure to reference the HNS 2019 Conference in your e-mail.

I have a question about book sales or signing not answered above. Who can I contact?

Send an e-mail to the HNS bookstore coordinator, Karen Limbrick, at


The HNS board looks forward to seeing you June 20-22, 2019, at the Gaylord Resort and Convention Center National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Maryland!