Recently, I thought I’d try this new venue for me to gain some exposure for my books and hopefully at the same time, be able to sell a few. Well, I am really quite pleased that I tried it. And even though the results were not overwhelming, I am actually quite pleased with what I did get!
In the three total days I probably only sold about 25 books. Of course that’s nothing to sneeze at when you consider that if I had not gone…I would not have sold any. I was a bit disappointed that nobody wanted to buy my artwork, but I pretty much expected that. People have room on their walls for a lot of things…but original artwork by a local artist is not one of them for most of the population. As I said, I figured it would go that way.
Ah, but the books! Not only did I get to sell about 25, but I got to see the eyes of the many who bought the books as well as the many who bothered to listen to my “two sentence summary of my stories”. I particularly enjoyed watching their eyes light up as they heard about a story line they were curious about. ‘Curiosity’. That’s the thing. Especially in the kids…but I also saw it many times in the eyes of the adults! Those who still remain at least somewhat…young at heart!
Last weekend, we set up just one day…on the Sunday of Log Cabin Village. People just did not seem to be buying. Toward the end of the day, I sold a few…four books. But even before that, there was one young girl…probably 12 or 13…who studied the books for quite a while. I gave her my summary and she listened intently. Then she picked up a couple of the books she was most interested in and read a little. “This is good. Really good, she said about ‘The Girl in the Window’. I’m going to ask my aunt if she will buy it for me.”
But during this time while she was looking and listening and reading, I was sorely tempted to simply give her a book! Mind you, this was before I sold a single one…with no promise that I would sell any at all. I had already paid author price on them and would lose money if I did that, but…so many times…it’s not about the money! I think way more often for me than for many others, it is NOT about the money.
I’ve never wanted much. Oh, I guess you could say I wanted it, but I knew I never really needed it, so I never bothered to want very much. A certain amount yes, I do need that much. But do I, or indeed anyone, really NEED so much extra excess money that I couldn’t spend it in my lifetime? The answer of course is no! But that is a whole other story. This story is about books.
The young girl came back with her aunt and cousin, and I got that maybe there was more to the story than just a cousin being along for the day…like maybe the Aunt had become her legal guardian for some sad reason. The Aunt treated her like her own daughter. She bought the book for her and then she bought one for her own daughter to be fair. It was good. I signed the books for the girls and they were both happy with their purchase and the signature. Even Mom/Aunt seemed happy for them. My first sale of the day, and of the three days that we spent at Log Cabin Village!
The thing is, that if that girl had come by one more time and for some reason was unable to have the book purchased for her, I would indeed have given it to her! The look on her face when my book became hers! THAT is why I like about writing books! For me to feel like I was a part of that look on here face and the pleasure in her eyes, and hopefully the joy in her heart as she read the book…THAT…is why I like to write books! THAT is the feeling I want to feel when someone buys my books! And to be able to see that up close…WOW! It was so worth it to me to be there at LCV!
On a side note, my wife came along with me to sell some of the craft items that she made. Selling those items and making money from it is one of her pleasures. I think she feels that feeling to some extent as well when someone really appreciates her work. She donated one of her more expensive items recently to one of our friends for a fundraiser. There is much pleasure in that…much more pleasure than in the money it could bring!
Overall, I was satisfied by the number of books I sold. Like I say, 25 that I would not have sold if I didn’t go. But also, I was able to tell about my stories to many, many more people who did NOT buy, but were curious….and tempted to buy! I saw the curiosity in their eyes though they could not pull the trigger on buying any for one reason or another. I was often tempted to give away a book, but that’s not really a very good business model. There were many times that I could see that a person was going to buy one of the books, or at least wanted one. During my ‘two sentence summary’ I could tell many times which particular book piqued their interest the most. I wasn’t always right, but mostly I could tell.
And there were many times that I could tell that though they were interested and curious, that they were not going to buy. For instance, one family had about six kids fluttering around. Not sure if they were all siblings or cousins or friends or what…but several had their eye on the the prize they wanted, and I could tell Dad was not going to spring for all of them. Which I truly understand having been there many times where my three daughters wanted something but I couldn’t swing it with all the other things that we needed to spend our money on. In those cases, I would always remind the listeners that all the books were also available on amazonbooks if they changed their minds later or had gifts to buy and such. So, not only did I get to sell some books, and see the eyes of so many kids light up when they bought my books, but I was also able to advertise my books first hand to maybe a couple hundred or so other people!
Will they even take the time to check out Amazon one day? Who knows? But I am satisfied that some will. And I think that if they read one of my books, they will want more.
Toward the end of the day on the last day of LCV, a little 7 or 8 year old girl, a child of one of the vendors who had spent most of the day trying to keep herself amused, and quite honestly seemed to do a great job. I was intrigued by the girl because I saw her making bubbles by washing her hands with soap and water and then blowing thru the circle created by her thumb and forefinger. She was quite good at it. She also wandered around doing other things to keep herself amused while mom and dad worked, and she never got too far from from them in doing so.
We were maybe fifty or sixty feet from their booth so at several points, she came and looked over our stuff. She seemed fairly shy, and never got real close, but after she had stared at my book display a few times, she got a little closer for a better look and it was at that time that I called her in and told her what my stories were about. She had that look of a child who is not given everything they want, and knows it will be that way for all of her growing up years. A look that I could identify with having had seven brothers and sisters. We got what we needed, but only occasionally got those things we wanted…usually for birthdays and Christmas and special occasions.
After I told her about the summaries, it seemed like she had it in her mind which one she would pick if she had the chance. But I doubt she went back to ask mom and dad as she knew what the answer would be. “No, you don’t need that.”
It was like my mind was made up for me. I was going to give her a book. The thing is, in this damned old world as it is, an old man taking any kind of an interest in a little girl…is often not a good thing. How could I do it without offending someone, or worse, making them think I’m some kind of pervert! Yeh! It happens.
I knew the best course was to find and ask the parent, but even then, the wrong approach or a slip of the tongue, could spell…second thoughts in someone’s mind that maybe this ‘nice old man’ isn’t really so nice.
Fortunately, I think it worked out. I say I think, because, who knows, the questions, the second thoughts could have come later. And maybe they did. But I think that even if the second thoughts did come, I think if they simply read a bit of my book…they would understand…that I simply wanted to share some joy in life.
I approached the vendors and asked who the girl belonged to. “She’s mine,” said her Mom. I asked if I could give her one of my books. “Why,” she asked. I told her it was because she strikes me as being a good kid, that she seemed to have kept herself amused all day and didn’t seem to get in any trouble and even helped out where she could. “Helped,” her mom said. “Where’d you see that?” But she was making light of it I cold tell. She asked the girl if she wanted to have a book and the girl shook her head excitedly. I waved her on with me.
I asked if she remembered the summaries I gave her about the books and she said she did. I asked if she wanted me to tell her again, or if she remembered which one she wanted. She knew. I thought I knew also but I was surprised that she chose ‘Santa Forgets’ over ‘The Girl…’ I asked her if she wanted me to sign it, and she again excitedly shook her head. She said her name was Maddie, and I had to make sure how to spell it, so she spelled it out for me.
Besides a thank you, that was all the words she had used throughout our exchanges. Just her name and how to spell it. She seemed very shy, and Jo thought so as well. But the look on her face and in her eyes told me all that I needed to hear from her. I am thankful that I am able to do such a things as give away a book to a child who otherwise would not have had it. It was the highlight of my day, of my days there at Log Cabin Village. I won’t soon forget it.