Monday, January 28, 2008

The next big push after getting out numerous press releases was to get copies of the book placed in Elko, Nevada before the big Cowboy Poetry Gathering this last week in January. I spent over a week making phone calls and emailing stores and libraries, then decided to just take a half-day and make the two-hour drive so I could make deliveries and hopefully sew up a few locations by a personal contact. This was my husband's first exposure to making book sales; I think we were both taken aback by the enthusiastic response of those I talked to. Of course, the book's Elko setting and buckaroo theme makes it a natural choice in northern Nevada. I left almost 60 books in Elko, and a third that many in Battle Mountain.

Now I can back off the heavy-duty selling a bit and have a more regular life again while the books find their way into the hands of the public. I notified the Institute of Children's Literature that one of their graduates had sold her first book, so they wrote back, requesting details. I also started putting together photos for a slide show for possible presentations--finding and selecting old pictures, scanning them onto the computer, fixing them up in Adobe Photoshop, organizing them, teaching myself how to put them into Microsoft Powerpoint which I know nothing about, and planning the talk that would accompany them. These two projects took me back through 10-15 years of memories as I retraced the steps that led to publication of my book.

And yes, I have been working on the sequel. Just as with The Orange Slipknot, much of my "writing" involves mulling over possibilities for character and plot development, so much of what I call "writing time" has nothing to do with actually adding more words to the story. I "write" while getting ready for work, while spending a half-hour every morning at crosswalk duty, while cooking, eating, cleaning house, or driving. I even work on my story when I'm awake in the night and can't get back to sleep.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

The boxes of books finally arrived! Just in the nick of time for me to get the prepaid autographed copies out in the mail. One last glitch almost cost an extra day--UPS had recorded my address wrong, and the poor UPS lady spent 45 minutes going up and down my road, looking for that non-existent number, and going door-to-door trying to locate me. I thanked her profusely and offered her a tip for her efforts but she refused it.

I forced myself to wait to open the boxes until my husband got home so we could share the big moment. He took pictures of me and my boxes and books spread all over the couch, which I immediately emailed to family and close friends. Holding my book in my hands was an absolutely wonderful feeling.

What a whirlwind of activity the last few weeks have been! I think I went to the post office about 8 days in a row with book orders. Getting them out just in time for Christmas resulted in many local sales, including several stores that carried them. Hearing great comments on the book prompted me to add a "Readers Say…" page to my website. To my surprise, I found that many adults loved the book too, so I guess it's not just for kids. I sent my first press release to our local newspaper and a week later my article appeared.

By Christmas day my company was gone and I was free to work on book projects--next was more press releases. Thanks to the internet, I was able to easily find email links to newspapers in many cities. I began with Nevada, then neighboring states in the Great Basin area. I tweaked the headline and a few sentences to hopefully make it eye-catching and relevant to other locations. I also researched and worked on some other promotional ideas.

I got several good days of work in on the sequel to The Orange Slipknot. (One reader already asked when the next book would be out!) Mostly I needed to reread and rework material I had written previously, but as often happens when writing, I had a couple of serendipity moments where new ideas popped into my head. I think I may be about halfway done with it now. I would like to think that perhaps that means I could be done by the time school is out, but who knows. I am so thankful for my two-week Christmas break. It has truly been a working vacation though.