#229–Book Sales Up, Up & Away
It has been since January when I last posted on my blog. That post was about a Christmas trip to Barstow, California. Since then, it has been a busy year. I always had plenty to write about, but always forgot to take photos whenever I was involved in book related activities. And since I like to have photos with my posts, that is the main reason, I haven’t posted. I still don’t have many photos, but I’m still going to post.
My latest book, The Oregon Coast Guide to the UNEXPECTED that which is odd, unusual or quirky!!!, has done very well. As of the other day, it’s just about 900 copies sold since last December 11, when 1,500 copies arrived. And I don’t sell on Amazon. I write, market, and distribute my books myself—sort of a one-woman show.
Starting the year with a bang!
I had done some preselling—150 names with contacts on a clipboard. Within days of my books arrival, I headed for Bakersfield for Christmas with family and my Barstow trip with Theresa Baer. After I returned home in early January, I contacted all the folks who had signed up. Many bought the book and for many months those sales dribbled in.
On the 10th, I headed south as far as Gold Beach and back in one day. Many stops at libraries, bookstores, tourist info centers, and tourist hotspots. I had called ahead, so I wasn’t a surprise. I sold 53 books. Then on January 26th and 27th was the Winter Music Festival where I sold 36 books over two days. (First time to participate as a vendor at this festival.)
Then on January 31 and February 2, I headed up the coast. I again had called ahead and made many stops at same types of venues. Spent first night in Astoria and next morning went across the river to Ilwaco in Washington. Intended to head home after stops in Tillamook, but I was really tired and it was raining and starting to get dark. So I spent the night in Tillamook. I sold 75 books on this trip and dropped off a copy of the new book that resulted in later sales.
The fun continues
The new book really took off. I was still selling the bridge books, but this year, the new one was definitely the super star. Around Florence continues to sell in the Florence area, but I don’t sell it to booksellers. And Devil Cat doesn’t do so well. I’m still finding its niche.
Over the next several months, I made a few trips up the coast as far as Lincoln City and down the coast as far as Bandon. Each time, I called ahead and sold several books. In the first five months, I sold 500 of the UNEXPECTED.
Help for Devil Cat
Then I decided to see if I could get Devil Cat into the California Bay Area, where two of the stories took place. This book means a lot to me because it is the only one that has my personal stories and the two stories from the Bay Area were the first stories I ever wrote. It’s like a memoir of my life through my most remarkable pets.
So in August, I took a trip to California and stayed with my roommate from college in Palo Alto. I donated a copy of Devil Cat to the Los Gatos Public Library and did a PowerPoint program on Devil Cat at Books Inc, the nearest bookstore to Los Gatos. It is in Campbell at the Pruneyard. They now carry my book Devil Cat. Actually, they’ve carried it since April, when I stayed a couple days with my college roommate on my way back from seeing family in Bakersfield. That’s when I got the ball rolling.
Same ole, same ole—Yachats Farmers Market, PowerPoint Presentations, and Florence Festival of Books
Meanwhile, UNEXPECTED and the bridge books continued to do well at various venues and at the Yachats Farmers Market where I was every Sunday all summer for the sixth year. This year, I brought my large cooler each time, and filled it with fresh produce. Yum!
I did a PowerPoint presentation for the new book in the spring at Coos Bay/s public library, in the summer at Florence’s public library, in October at Ft. Clatsop up near Astoria, and at Florence’s Siuslaw Pioneer Museum also in October. I did my bridge PowerPoint presentation at Portland State University in March and for a Portland group of RVers at a campground in the Florence area in September. And next Friday, I’ll do the bridge program for a group of 4th graders in Coos Bay. Just look at the diversity of groups requesting these programs. I’ve done about 60 programs, and the only one I set up was the one in California. Once the word gets out that you are a speaker, the requests come pouring in.
The 9th Annual Florence Festival of Books, held in late September, was a big success both days, starting with a panel discussion about the “Ins and Outs of Publishing” on Friday afternoon. For the first time, I was on the panel. I covered the hybrid way Bob Serra, my publisher, and I create books. Then that evening, Bob Welch gave a fabulous Keynote address. The book fair on Saturday had 70+ authors and seven publishers. It was a wonderful event where everything worked perfectly. There weren’t as many attendees as last year, but they were more in a buying mood. I sold 19 books and all the authors sold books, several sold more than I sold. And it’s also such a wonderful opportunity for networking.
Ending year by being crazy busy
The day after returning from a two-week vacation in October with my sister, I hit the phone and made numerous calls up the coast. It would be my first trip as far north as Astoria since my late January trip.
On this trip, I made stops from Lincoln City to Astoria. I was scheduled to speak at Ft. Clatsop on Sunday at 1 p.m. It was a rainy weekend of monster waves whenever I glimpsed the ocean and bright yellow maples from Tillamook north. I stopped at Ft. Clatsop visitor center on Saturday, and we were able to work out some problems. My laptop had died two days before, so I had to use theirs. Their laptop had recently received a security update and many folks there were not in the loop to be able to use it. It took awhile and several people, but we found a way to make it work.
On Sunday, there were 63 in the audience, and they were lovely—laughing at my jokes and listening attentively. Afterwards they bought 20 books and the gift shop bought eight more. That was a very successful weekend with 119 books sold. It helped that the Tillamook Air Museum bought 25 and the Columbia River Maritime Museum bought 20. And that’s just UNEXPECTED sales. I also sold 24 bridge books at various venues.
The next weekend was the presentation at the Siuslaw Pioneer Museum, which went very well. It was videoed, and will be for sale soon at the museum.
On the first weekend of November, I had a table at the Yachats Harvest and Holiday Craft Fair for the first time. It has many, many vendors and is always packed with folks from as far away as Corvallis, Eugene, and up and down the coast. I sold 39 books in two days. (These were an even mix of bridge books and UNEXPECTED sold with a couple each of Around Florence and Devil Cat.)
At the Craft Fair, I got into a discussion about rivets being replaced on the McCullough Bridge over Coos Bay with a fella who bought both my bridge books. I had told him about being presented with a rusty rivet after doing a presentation at the reopening of the Oregon City Arch Bridge back in 2012 after it had been closed for 22 months for major repairs. He told me about how he worked on the Golden Gate and S.F./Oakland Bay Bridges in 2001 when the rivets were being replaced.
Then he asked me if I would like a rivet from each of those bridges. I said, of course, I would. Two days later, a very heavy package arrived with a rivet from each bridge and a letter authenticating that they were, indeed, from the bridges with a photo of him on the Bay Bridge and signed by him. I was thrilled! It’s just not everybody who has an original rusty rivet from the Golden Gate Bridge!!
Next Friday, November 15, is the bridge presentation to 131 fourth graders at Millicoma Elementary School in Coos Bay. Wish me luck; it’s been more than 30 years since I worked with elementary school students.
And on November 22-24, I’ll be at a table at Three Rivers Casino Events Center at the Victorian Belles Holiday Sale, for the ninth year, selling my books with a few other authors. It always has a very good turnout.
So this has been a busy and successful year selling books through bookseller venues and at book fairs and presentations. And most of the sales are because of the new book, The Oregon Coast Guide to the UNEXPECTED!!! The sales took off and kept going. They went up, up, and away! And I couldn’t be more pleased!