Many people ask me why I spend so many weekends on the road selling my book, In Plain Sight. My first reason is the most obvious, as a new author I have to bust my butt getting my novel in front of as many people as I can. The Internet is a great tool, and I use it, but getting out there and meeting people face to face is the best way for me to let people know my novel exists. The second reason is that I enjoy meeting people. I’ve worked from home for eleven years, meaning if I don;t get out of the house, I don’t meet people. Selling at small town festivals, where people are excited that an author comes to them, is a great way to meet people. I also get to hear what people like and want from their novels.
This weekend I’m at the Sunrise Festival in Sidney, MT. The festival offers me two events over the span of two days to tell people about my Jon Wells series – yes more are coming. Friday night is the Author’s Showcase. All the authors invited to the festival will set up tables and answer questions at the MonDak Heritage Center. The big event is Saturday on the festival grounds. A special section of the festival in Central Park has been designated Writer’s Row. Each of the authors will have a tent set up and will be hawking their books. It should be a great event.
So why would I travel over 600 miles, one-way for this event? It’s ten miles from the town I graduated my high school. This region in Eastern Montana is not highly populated, and yet, they have supported my writing like no other region. I had four very successful events over a three-day span last year. When they asked me to come to this year’s festival, I could only say yes.
So, planning started with identify the weekend so I would not double-schedule myself. I did that once last year. That was embarrassing. Next came arranging my consulting timelines for the drive out. Once that was arranged and my clients ok with me missing a day I had to make sure I had enough books. That’s always a hard call. It takes a couple weeks to get the books printed and shipped at a cost that makes it somewhat feasible to make a profit, however small. Especially with a weekend like this, three nights in hotels, gas, mileage, and food.
Everything was ready and then I found out I had another shipment of books coming in. Yep, I had ordered more books for the following weekend and expected them to come the next week. But no, UPS said they would be there the day we were leaving. We had expected to leave around 3 pm. My wife and I had both started work early to accommodate the early departure. We were packed. Work was done. I checked that the books were out for delivery. The website said the UPS truck had them at 4:30 am and was out “for delivery.” Noon. No books. We could leave, I had enough packed already. The neighbors could put them in the garage for us. No. That’s not fair. Besides, what happens if lightning strikes and I sell all the books and people are lined up to buy, AND I didn’t wait for the shipment of another 100 novels. That would be stupid. OK, so I don’t think I’ll sell the 90 novels already packed, but you never know, right? 3 pm, we want to leave. No books. Drum fingers. What is that I hear? I hear a truck coming down the road. I rushed to the window to see…a garbage truck. Dang. That stupid garbage truck roamed around the neighborhood seemingly for thirty minutes. Every time I heard it rev its engine, you guessed it, I looked out the window.
Finally, I saw the brown panel truck on the road behind our house. I rushed out the door to the driveway and waited. And waited. Where was the truck? I walked down the long driveway and peered in each direction. No truck. Where was it? Frustrated, I went back inside. It was 5 pm. Then it came. We slammed the four boxes marked “HEAVY” into the back of the SUV moving everything around so I could see out the back window and left, only slightly more than two hours late. We were on our way. Less than one mile from home we hit the first of twelve road construction projects that evening. The long day didn’t end until we pulled into the hotel parking lot at 10:45 PM. It shouldn’t have taken that long to drive 300 miles.
Wonder what tomorrow will bring?