Sometimes It’s Not About Selling Books

I hope I’ll be selling books as I prepare for the Buttons and Bows Craft Show in my neighborhood clubhouse every year. In past years I’ve sold twenty or more books at one of these events. I have return customers in the 55+ Active Lifestyle Community. I try to have a new book each year for these dedicated fans.
This year I sold eleven books and I gave away two copies of White Roses in Winter. One to Kathy and one to Barb. These are my friends, neighbors, fans. Kathy is always the first in line at my table. I gave her a book as part of a newsletter drawing, but she also bought a different book, insisting she hadn’t read it. (Even though I’m pretty sure Kathy has every book I’ve written.)
Barb also received a free copy of White Roses in Winter as part of a newsletter drawing.
This wasn’t a stellar year for sales at this show as my card-making buddy Jeanne will attest to. Conventional bookselling marketers won’t agree with me, but sometimes it isn’t about selling books. Or anything else. It’s about the connections you make, the conversations you have, the new friends you meet.
Across from me was a group of knitters with two adorable children’s hats on display. Which started a conversation about potential grandchildren. Which led to the gift of a fertility bunny. “Just tell them to put it on the bedpost,” Joyce insisted. I thought she was messing with me, but she insisted she knew of at least thirty individuals the fertility bunny had worked for. Still, I wasn’t exactly sure how I would explain to my children how I came by a fertility bunny…
Jeanne’s husband Norman arrives along with his oxygen tank. Norman has mesothelioma and has been under hospice care. He tells me stories of growing up. How he and his buddies used to work on their cars on Saturday mornings and then head to the diner. His friends would get hamburgers and Norman would order pie. I offer him the pineapple cake from my free lunch. Jeanne frowns but relents.
I people watch. I journal. Chat with other sellers. I take a tour to see what crafts are being offered. Quilts, jewelry, placemats, shawls, woodwork. Christmas décor; golf cart seat covers; honey and goats’ milk soap.
I ask if I can take a picture of each reader who buys or wins one of my books. They smile. I hope I’m giving them a few hours of enjoyment as they read. If they post a review or write me a fan letter, I will be eternally grateful. But if none of that happens, I don’t consider eleven book sales in five hours a failure. Because sometimes it’s not about selling books.

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When We Were Friends

Maybe it was twenty-five years ago. Maybe it was only one. Or two. We were friends, weren’t we? Our children grew up together. We lived next door to each other. Or maybe you were in my wedding. Did you throw a baby shower for me? Where are you now? Did…

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To Those Given Much

“From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked” (Luke 12:48). This past week I’ve received two messages from friends of friends looking for donations to fund medical expenses. Both of these direly…

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When I Was A Bully

Her name was Marie.  We were in first grade at a Catholic School in a small Midwestern town. It doesn’t matter where we were or how old we were.  My classmates and I were bullies.  We weren’t just mean we were cruel.  I wasn’t friends with Marie, but I’ve never…

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All I Want For Christmas

I had song lyrics in my head driving home from a week-early celebration with my family, but I realized it was a bit too much like “All I Want For Christmas Is You” which I believe Mariah Carey had a hit with a few years ago. Mine went something like…

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Skydiving

The first time I saw skydivers I was a kid growing up in rural Illinois.  They looked like they were dropping from the sky into the cornfields.  I don’t know where they actually landed, but that’s when I first decided I wanted to do that, too. Fast forward about forty-five years…

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I’ll Call You

“I’ll call you” is what “friends” might say right before you never hear from them again. What you may expect is that said friend will call you later the same day, or once they’re free from whatever kept them from talking to you. But “I’ll call you” is open-ended. There’s…

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Family Therapy in The House of Dust, Part Ten, The End

That evening Sue allows me to take her out to dinner for her upcoming birthday.  We go to a Mexican restaurant.  It’s practically deserted, due in part to the weather, I’m sure. Friday she and I meander around town together.  She needs a few things for her house.  The rain…

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Family Therapy in The House of Dust, Part Nine, The Rest of the Trip

On Tuesday Sue and I head to Utica because there is a place there that does wine tasting and features wine from a local winery.  The entire time I lived in IllinoisI don’t think I was ever in the town of Utica unless it was to pass through to get…

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Family Therapy in The House of Dust, Part Eight, The Rest of the Trip

The drive is uneventful otherwise.  We talk some but mostly we listen to Steve’s CD’s.  He has them in a metal case and he’s very good about changing them.  He has a variety of music and I don’t get bored.  We stop for gas, a Coke for me.  We polish…

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