Five thirty in the morning. That’s what time you have to arrive on Main Street to get your booth ready for the day’s festival browsers. Don’t even ask what time you have to get up.
Every year, the Polish community of Bremond, Texas holds Polski Dzien (Polish Days), a wonderful small-town festival with a parade, a Polish Pickle Run, 42-tournaments, washer-thrower contests, a barbecue cook-off, and booth after booth of wares sold by tired, hot vendors–all to lively polka music cranked up loud on the PA system.
This year, I was one of the vendors, peddling Give the Lady a Ride, and I sold out–a fact which was a surprise to no one but me.
Bremond is the heart of Yezak country. My husband is related to just about everyone there, so I expected to have a good day. What I wasn’t expecting was so many people I didn’t know saying, “I saw you in the newspaper!” or requesting to have a picture taken with me. Me. Can you believe that?! The first person who wanted a picture with me was the town librarian, Tessy Crawford. I had contacted her through Facebook and told her I wanted to donate one of my books to the library. That photo op I understood, but the others? After the third person requested a picture with me, I started wondering what was going on. According to one of MSB’s cousins, having a “famous” author in town is a big deal. I wonder what it’s going to be like if I really do get famous.
My books weren’t the only ones I had for sale this past Saturday. In this pic, MSB and my grandson Tyler are sitting next to the display I set up for some of my writing friends. The idea of including other writers’ novels didn’t hit until late, though, and only two authors managed to get their books to me on time. Another sent her promo material.
K. M. (Katie) Weiland’s Behold the Dawn was the first to sell, and since that one was the only novel I had not set in the west, not with a western theme, not featuring cowboys and cowgirls, I was afraid the others–including mine–weren’t going to sell. But they did. I sold books in each title. As for mine, I sold out by 11:00 am!
My sister-in-law has already climbed down my throat for not bringing four cases of books, but for some reason, I just didn’t think I’d do as well as I did. Things have been so insane around here that I didn’t get to run my ad as I had planned (the same as before the Blueberry Festival last month), and I had forgotten one of our cousins had already put an article about the book in the newspaper, so I was expecting to have a good day, not great. I mean really–who buys books at festivals? They want colorful beads, gaudy purses, tacky t-shirts, and sausage-on-a-stick!
I wasn’t thinking about hubby’s influence, or about the power of a few cousins and a sister-in-law who aren’t in the least bit shy about pushing something they believe in. “Come ‘ere, come ‘ere, come ‘ere!” they’d shout to folks on the street. “You’ve gotta meet this lady. She wrote a great book!”
I didn’t bring enough books.
Folks who know me know I don’t do heat. Totally heat-intolerant. Totally. I don’t sweat like normal people. I start with an oily sheen long before I begin to sweat. By the time the salty drops pop up on my skin, I’m already roasting on the inside and frying on the outside. When my forehead gets damp, I’m already close to passing out. Let me tell you, this worries my husband no end. God blessed us with a light breeze and an afternoon low 100 degrees (instead of the 106 average of the previous week), but He blessed me more with a husband who packed a portable AC and kept it aimed directly at me the entire day. At one point while I was with a customer, I kept feeling something on my legs–first one, then the other. I looked around to find MSB with a cold, wet rag in his hand. He’d been washing my legs with ice water to make sure I stayed cool.
Believe me, there is more than one way to say “I love you,” and an ice-water wash ranks right up there with an Elizabethan sonnet.
MSB and I thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. We had a terrific, successful day. I’m able to send checks to my writer buddies, and deposit a nice little chunk o’ change into my own account. The income didn’t beat the expense, but it was still worth it simply for the exposure.
We’re going to do it again, but I need a name for my little traveling bookstore. That’s where you come in. What would you name it? Any ideas?
What a fun day, Linda!
Still working on cup of coffee #1 but here’s a few:
Linda’s Literary Supermarket
Linda’s Little Book Shoppe
Give the Lady a Book
Have Books; Will Travel
Books to Go
Give the Lady a Book! How funny! Thanks for the ideas, Carol!
Looks like so much fun! Thanks for sharing the pix (and selling my books). I like Carol’s “Give the Lady a Book” idea!
It’s a cute name. Definitely worth considering! (BTW: The check is in the mail!)
Yezak’s Book Shack
As you can see, the coffee didn’t help much!
Yezak’s Book Shack or Traveling Book Shack aren’t bad ideas–coffee or not!
Congratulations on your stunning success! This is the kind of excitement that keeps you wanting to write. I can’t wait to read more by Linda W. Yezak. I so enjoyed your book.
Thank you, Betty! Yours is on my list. I can’t wait to do a promotional review for you!
What a great day! I’d have gladly stood there and fanned you if I could. Actually, I think festivals and gift shops are a great idea. You’re not competing for notice among 1000 other titles like you would be at a books-only event. Hey, how about this one: “Linda’s Tail-Gate Tales”?
It’s true, Naomi–I’ve done better in a pharmacy and a beauty salon than in the book stores I’ve stocked, and the festivals have been wonderful. Hot, but wonderful!
Forgot to add that this reminded me of my youth, picking cucumbers in my aunt’s field and hauling them in gunnysacks to “The Polka Dill-Pickle Company”.
Love that company name! I used to make a terrific dill pickle myself, but for some reason, I can’t do it anymore. My bread-and-butter pickles are terrific, but I can’t seem to do the dills. 😦
I must confess, I just started your book, just in the first chapter but am loving it already.
As for your bookstore name, how about “Peppermint’s Place”? I heard that somewhere…..:>)
Terry–That’s brilliant!!! Why didn’t I think of that????? I’m serious, it didn’t even cross my mind, but that’s the perfect answer. Thank you!
Congratulations, Linda! Sounds like a great experience all the way around. I agree with Terry, Peppermint Place is the perfect name. Ties in rather beautifully with another public project you “dabble in.” Again, congratulations and here’s to many, many more. May each bring more and more exposure and sell outs!