Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Adventures of a Traveling Salesman

So I gave my talk at East Grand Forks. I sold six copies of the book at a profit of appx 6.60/book.  They also gave me a small honorarium for appearing (which is much appreciated!)  which I  put toward  gas and a motel.  At first glance, it may not seem from a business standpoint that it was worth making the trip.  It’s over ten hours of driving, plus I had to eat. And, you know, snack. However, there have been nice residual effects.

For example, one of the people attending the reading works for Hennepin County Libraries. After my talk, she said she’d let them know about me. Shortly thereafter, three copies of Ox Cart Angel are now in the Hennepin Library system. I also stopped at the Polk County History Museum, which is in nearby Crookston. They bought 12 copies to sell in their store, and have my info if they need more. On the drive back home, I stopped at the Hjemkomst Center in Moorhead, MN and left the manager a copy of the book. He called me a week later and ordered five copies for their store.  At the Pembina, ND museum, I got contact info for their book buyer (and learned that this buyer is the one who chooses books for all of the North Dakota state run museums) and so maybe something will come of that, too.

The best part, however, is the experience. Getting in front of people. Making an impression.  Making contacts.

Same thing with the author talk in Benson. I try to find places to stop at along the way and back to make contacts, etc. Get my name out there a little bit.

While sometimes I feel authory, other times I feel like I’m a traveling salesmen, trying to sell a set of encyclopedias, or a set of brushes or knives.  When you’re driving out in the rural parts of the state (any state) it’s easy to imagine you’re in the 1930s or 40s.  Only difference is I don’t wear a fedora, and they don’t call cars jalopies any more.

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