Archive for March, 2012

Reading in Milltown…Hope I have books

So, here’s the deal.  After my reading in Amery, I got down to 5 books, 2 of Book 2, and 3 of Book 1. So I ordered 15 copies of each book on the 19th. Today is March 29th, and they are not here yet. I have a book reading in Milltown this evening at 7pm, and I’m going to have to show up like a nimrod and apologize for having no books. I have to hand out vouchers. Ugh.

What did I learn. Order books as soon as humanly possible and keep a consistent inventory in stock. There still might be a chance that I go to the post office in an hour and a half and have two heavy boxes waiting for me…but I’m not holding my breath. Of course if only three people show up, well then I’m probably set.

Gettin’ the Itch..

Ooh, it’s that time of year again. That funny part of spring where I’m just itchin’ to tear up the ground and plant things.

I know it’s too early, waaay too early, even though this March is unseasonably green. The typical spring (which is a laughable adjective to use in NW Wisconsin, since we almost always seem to lie smack dap in the middle of the jet stream, and temps can have a range of 100 degrees difference in only three or four months) is a witch’s tit cold February, a wet, snowy March, and a muddy April until the frost heaves sometime around Easter. If we’re lucky, people up here can “tentatively” start planting after Mother’s day, but nothing “frost fragile” until after Memorial weekend.

I’ve worked at greenhouses before. It’s one of my favorite jobs because I love being around plants about as much as I love being around books. Greenhouse season in this neck of the woods is short. You start preparing the plants at the end of April. You start selling plants very slowly in May. You sell like crazy for the first two weeks in June. Everything goes on clearance for the last two weeks in June. By the Fourth of July, the season is done. That’s it. It gets too hot to keep a greenhouse open at that point. Everything that didn’t sell is so leggy, you can’t give it away. The rest goes in the compost bin.

The new house the husband and I purchased in January used to be a rental, so landscaping is minimal at best. It looks like the pile of leaves that take up half of the driveway (and finally just thawed out) have been there for so long, they have turned to soil underneath. I see a bunch of vines on a rickety fence that borders the neighbors that look suspiciously like Virginia Creeper. Yuck. If you want to hide from the neighbors, it’s perfect, but you better be committed. Virginia Creeper is so virulent that you can rip it out, leave it on the pavement in the hot sun with no water, and it will happily just sprout and grow where you left it. It scoffs (anthropomorphically speaking) at Round-up.

There are two huge cedar trees on either side of the house. They were probably cute little shrubs when the house was built 70 years ago. Now, they look like they’d be more at home in a cemetery. Everywhere else is fabric and river rock. This yard is just screaming (anthropomorphically again) for some color.

Funny thing is the garden and seed companies are fully aware of the mania to garden prematurely. That’s why all of the catalogs start showing up in February. It’s mean, really, because even if you jump the gun and order your stuff now, they won’t ship it until “your growing season” starts, which won’t be until May.

So, that means, I’m pretty much resided to pace the yard, and dream…or finish my book. What a novel idea.

Let me tell you a story…

This is the worst part of the whole book writing thing, self promotion. I do not like doing it. I hate cold calling people and saying, “Um, yeah, I’m a writer and I want to read my books at your place so people will buy them. Can you set that up for me?” Most of the libraries that I solicited have come through, and I still have two more readings already scheduled.

But, other than New Richmond, April’s looking thin. I’ll need the leave the libraries. I hope to try coffee shops. Coffee and reading material seem like a natural match. How about books and wine? Books and Beer? One librarian suggested I do a reading in a bar. I don’t know. Bar people aren’t generally known for their literary savvy in my neck of the woods. What I do isn’t like poetry slamming (If only I had that kind of passion and rhythm, you know, for book reading). So more ideas…

Art galleries, they tend to get busier in the spring. Art centers, there’s a couple not far from here. Not a whole lot of actual book stores around anymore, and most of them seem to want “legitimately published authors.”

So far, most of the self promotion I have done has been free. It might finally be time to start researching actual paid advertising. I hate doing it. The best advertising for any business is still word of mouth. Of course, if no one knows your product exists, it might be kind of hard to get them to buy it. I need to track those Mo-fo’s down. They just don’t know what they’re missing.