Those of us who live on the coast know that we live on one of the most rugged coastlines in the world with some of the stormiest winter weather. We call it living on the edge. Gusts of 45 to 60 mph are simply a part of winter storms. It’s only when gusts of 90 to 100 mph are predicted that we might change our plans. Even then we wait until someone down coast calls to say it’s actually arrived and heading our way. Then we make sure we have enough firewood in the house, gather up flashlights and candles, charge batteries in laptops and cell phones, start a fire in the woodstove, and hunker down. It’s all part of living on the Oregon coast.
So what does this have to do with the book Crossings: McCullough’s Coastal Bridges? Just trying to set the stage for peddling a book here in the winter. Sometimes the weather is not a problem, but sometimes it is.
A week ago Saturday, I headed up the coast to deliver books and a presentation. The weather was what we consider quite gentle for mid-November: mild temps, some sun, some clouds, and a few showers in the late afternoon. The day before, I had called venues that carried Crossings in Yachats, Waldport, and Newport to see if they needed more copies with the holidays coming up. I also made a call to the Adobe Resort, where I’ve wanted to place the book for a long time, but never seemed to connect with the right person.
I stopped first in Yachats. I dropped off books at Mari’s Books and headed to the Adobe. This time, the gal I had talked to on the phone turned out to be the right person. She looked at the book, liked it, and said she would start with a couple! I was thrilled!
Then I continued on to Newport. I dropped off books at Canyonway Bookstore & Restaurant and at the jewelry shop next to SeaTowne Books at the bookstore owner’s request, since his shop would be closed that day.
Finally, I ended up at Hatfield Marine Science Center for my PowerPoint presentation. It took a little bit of figuring to get my computer compatible with their projection equipment, but we did it with 10 minutes to spare. I spoke for about 40 minutes about the book and the bridges highlighted with photos from the book to an audience of about 20. Afterwards, there were individual questions from audience members, as I signed a few books. Only a few showers dampened my trip home. And along the way I tallied up my day.
It was lovely! I knew where each stop was, everyone was expecting me, everything went like clockwork, the presentation went smoothly, and the weather had been no problem. I sold 15 copies, placed the book in a new venue, and felt like a pro.
This week, I decided it was time to head south to see if anyone needed more books for the holidays. I would stop in Reedsport and the Bay Area and check out Bandon—virgin territory as far as the book is concerned.
On Tuesday morning, I started with calls to familiar places. Then went online to see what bookstores, gift shops, and museums were in the Bay Area and Bandon that did not have the book and, perhaps, should have it. Before long, I had a list of 15 places, of which half were new. I made calls and got through to about half—par for the course. I also used Mapquest to locate the new ones. Then I prepared a schedule with approximate times. I was ready. Before going to bed, however, I checked the weather—first big storm of the season to hit tomorrow. Hmm!
I didn’t change my plans for Wednesday. I simply added rain pants and waterproof boots. Before I left at 9:30 a.m., I made a few more calls and crossed off a few places. It was stormy in Florence, but as I headed south, I drove out of the rain––still windy, though. I stopped at the Coos County Historical & Maritime Museum in North Bend and dropped off the books they requested. Then I followed my Mapquest directions to a new bookstore––Books by the Bay––and pitched my book. He bought two. Then I headed to Charleytown Marketplace in Charleston. I dropped off the books they requested and spent an enjoyable 15 minutes or so chatting.
The wind blew stronger and the rain threatened. And now chatty Judy was running behind schedule. So I decided to take the Seven Devil’s Road shortcut over to Highway 101. Ha! I kept ending up at ocean beaches. I took wrong turns three times before getting it right and finding the highway. Some shortcut! I lost at least 45 minutes, and it was getting stormier by the minute.
Finally, I got to Bandon about an hour behind schedule, feeling like I wanted to turn around, go home, and get out of the storm. But this was new territory, requiring enthusiasm and a smile. So I gave myself a pep talk and went for it. Two new venues—the Wind River Bookstore and the Bandon Public Library—I found with no problem, and they were expecting me. And both bought books. Nothing like success to boost your enthusiasm. Now I was on a roll. So I stopped at the museum where they were not expecting me and lucked out. The director, whose name was also Judy, recognized me from Oregon Coast magazine, was impressed with the book, and bought a couple of copies.
I eliminated two other stops where I was not expected because of running late and headed north to places I was expected, hoping they would still be open when I got there. I tried calling, but the calls didn’t go through. That’s not unusual here on the coast. And it didn’t help that I had to go super slow because of the buffeting wind and rain that was becoming really serious. When I got to the Umpqua Lighthouse Gallery and Museum south of Winchester Bay, it was especially wild, and I put on all my rain gear. There were a few cars in the parking lot, so I thought they were open but not so. Drat! In Reedsport, I stopped at the Dunes Headquarters and found that they didn’t need any more books. My last stop the Umpqua Discovery Center had just closed 15 minutes earlier. Double drat!!
So I headed home. The driving became more difficult as it got darker, so I was very relieved to pull into the garage at 5:20 p.m. Once inside, I could tell the power had been out, but it had come back on. So I hastily fixed dinner. Good thing! As the storm continued, the power went out to stay. Before that happened, I tallied up the day’s results.
It had been wild! Wicked weather, spent too much time chatting, got lost, missed out on several places because of running late. Definitely didn’t feel like a pro. Despite all that, I sold 19 copies and placed the book in four new venues. Go figure!
Rain or shine! I’m out there on the edge—me and my book.
Judy with Crossings sales/book signing at holiday craft show & book fair:
November 18–19, Friday–Saturday, 10 a.m.–7 p.m.––Many Hands (craft group) & Victorian Belles (artists) Craft Show, Three Rivers Casino events center, Florence (east of town off of Hwy 126)
December 4, Sunday, noon–5 p.m.––Oregon Historical Society’s “Holiday Cheer: A Celebration of Oregon Authors,” Oregon authors will sign/sell books, $5 admission (free for OHS members and those under 17), Portland (1200 SW Park Avenue)
Judy’s PowerPoint presentation with book sales/signing:
February 19, Sunday, 3 p.m.––Port Orford Library, Port Orford (1421 Oregon Street [Hwy 101])