I could have named this post “Back in the saddle again” or “Road trips are fun!” But the numbers were what blew me away. By following my usual game plan of calling ahead before hitting the road, I sold more books during a 10-day period than ever before. Of course, I have a new book and that helps, but all four books did well––especially The Crossings Guide. Here’s the breakdown: Crossings––24, Guides––67, Around Florence––19, and Devil Cat––24.
Florence Area, Friday, May 29––This was my first attempt to get Devil Cat in venues in the Florence area. I made phone calls beforehand on Wednesday and Thursday. On Friday, I made stops at P.S. Winkles, Books N Bears, and Port Hole Books both in Florence and Gardiner. I also stopped to see Frankie Jorgensen, President of the Florence Area Humane Society, whose endorsement appears on the inside flap of Devil Cat. I presented her with a comp copy of the book for FAHS. She then bought two more copies and one each of my other three books. What a lovely surprise! A few days later, I delivered 10 copies of Around Florence to the Sea Lion Caves.
Road Trip South, Wednesday, June 3––I made calls the week before and the remainder on Monday and Tuesday for a trip as far south as Bandon. Because of the new book, I sent emails with PR info attached. We stopped in Reedsport at the Lower Umpqua Veterinary Clinic to deliver a comp copy of Devil Cat to retired veterinarian, Marcia Felton, whose endorsement is on the back cover.
Then we headed to Winchester Bay to the Lighthouse Museum. I dropped off 31 books. They only order a couple times a year, so their orders are wonderfully hefty. Then we consulted our map as we headed to the new Coos Historical & Maritime Center. They moved from Simpson Park in North Bend to the waterfront in Coos Bay. The new larger facility faces Highway 101, but was tricky to figure out how to get there. I’m sure there will be good signage when they actually open. Although scheduled to open May 31, they had to delay their grand opening for a few weeks. We had a tour, and it’s a marvelous facility designed from the get-go to be a museum.
With 32 minutes to make it to Bandon, we didn’t waste any time. Grover at WinterRiver Books would be leaving a noon. As we crossed the Coquille River Bridge close to Bandon at 11:50 a.m., we called to let him know we were on our way. We arrived at 11:58. Whew! WinterRiver has always carried my bridge books and now carries Devil Cat as well.
With the time pressure off, we leisurely dropped off bridge books at the Bandon Historical Museum and Devil Cat at the Bandon Public Library––the first library on the Oregon coast to have it in circulation.
We then stopped by CharleyTown MarketPlace in Charleston, another venue that carries my bridge books and now also has Devil Cat.
Then we stopped at the Coos Bay and North Bend libraries where both have my bridge books in circulation. And now North Bend has Devil Cat too.
We left home at 9:20 a.m. and returned at 6:30 p.m.
Road Trip North, Friday, June 5––I made calls the previous Tuesday and Thursday and again sent emails with PR info attached. Because I had an appointment at my home at 10 a.m. that day, we couldn’t leave before 11.
We got away on time and stopped at Mari’s Books in Yachts and the Historic Alsea Bay Bridge Interpretive Center in Waldport. Both do an amazing job of selling my bridge books. I dropped off more bridge books at both venues and Mari’s now has Devil Cat. Waldport’s Well-Read Books, the Waldport Public Library, and the Waldport Heritage Museum all bought books also–but no Devil Cat sales.
In Newport, we stopped at Canyonway Restaurant and Bookstore, Nye Beach Book House, and the Newport Public Library, and all three now have Devil Cat to go along with the bridge books. We also stopped at Yaquina Head Interpretive Center just north of town to drop off more Guides. Then we went onto Lincoln City where we stopped at the Driftwood Public Library and Bob’s Beach Books. They both have my bridge books and the latter now has Devil Cat too.
We left at 11:05 a.m. and returned home at 8 p.m.
Surprises––I was totally unprepared for how many copies of The Crossing Guide were sold––almost as many as the other three combined. I had to go into town on Thursday to pick up another box of books or I would’ve run out on Friday. It reinforces what William Sullivan told me years ago about how his hiking guides far outsell his award-winning book of which he is most proud––Listening for Coyote.
The other surprise was the reaction of libraries to Devil Cat. They either loved it or didn’t want it. I had never been asked before what the reviews were before a venue decided whether or not to carry a book. And I was given a lecture stating that writers ought to know better than to do a book about their pets. Now I know, but I will still give each library the option to decide.
Major foul-up––While the trips went smoothly with typed itineraries, invoices prepared ahead of time, and books handy, I made a huge mistake and didn’t realize it until the next morning. I had delivered the wrong books to Coos Historical & Maritime Center. Since my contact person was not there to receive the books, nobody noticed. That was the one invoice that was requested to be sent via email attachment ahead of time, and I had filed away my copy. I relied on my memory, and it failed me. I delivered six copies of The Crossings Guide instead of Crossings as the invoice indicated. So on Thursday, my day of rest from driving, I had to drive all the way to Coos Bay to exchange books. (three hours round-trip) It was the first time I’d ever billed for one book and delivered another. Very embarrassing!
Perks––Carole, who rents my downstairs apartment, accompanied me on both road trips. When you share an adventure, it makes it more fun. She was the navigator with the itinerary in hand and made sure the invoices matched the batch of books. She even carried them in, so that I could hang onto my hair. It was really breezy both trips, and I didn’t want to see my hair (wig) blowin’ in the wind.
We stopped to eat snacks that we’d brought at scenic spots both days, and ended each trip with dinner at a fabulous restaurant––Kum Yon’s in Coos Bay and Tidal Raves in Depoe Bay. Yum for both!
And Carole introduced me to the Washed Ashore Museum in Bandon where nearly everything on display has been created from plastic litter found on the beaches. The art works are totally amazing, and you can’t tell until you get close. Volunteers collect litter, sort it, and create works of art that are educational exhibits.
It was wonderful being out on the road selling my books, seeing familiar faces, and making new discoveries. And I was amazed when I tallied up everything Saturday morning. It was 10 days from the time I started making phone calls on a Wednesday morning until arriving home on a Friday evening, and during that time, I sold 134 books. I ran the numbers six times to make sure.
Devil Cat is now out there––at least on the central coast. And more than one venue has asked me to come and do a presentation––some on Devil Cat, others on the bridges. So I really am getting back in the groove. Nothing is definite yet, but I’ll keep you posted. In the meantime, enjoy the start of summer. I can tell it’s here––afternoon winds and lots of traffic!