Grants Pass, Medford, and Ashland were in my sights for this Thursday–Sunday trip, June 28–July1. I would be staying with my 97-year-old friend Virginia, who let me know years ago that if I come to her area and don’t stop I would be “dead meat.” So, of course, I stayed with her and wasn’t surprised that she had a chicken and baked potatoes in the oven, a freshly tossed salad in the fridge, and custard cooling on the counter. She is one of a kind!
My plan was to stop at bookstores, historical societies, libraries, and colleges. So before the trip, I went online to make my lists to call. With the economy still down, summer weather just starting to kick in for tourist areas like Ashland, and relevancy a factor as I got farther from the coast, I wasn’t sure what kind of a reception to expect. So I decided to keep my expectations low and content myself with spreading the word. That would be my goal, since this was new territory. Any sales would be frosting on the cake.
So I went online Monday and made a list of 22 places to call. Tuesday I started with Grants Pass. I discovered a couple of bookstores and the library would be good stops. I sent information to the historical society and will contact Rogue Community College later, since it was closed between terms.
In Ashland, I discovered that of the five bookstores listed a few had closed and only one would be appropriate and that all the libraries in Jackson County all worked through the main one in Medford. I called Ashland College and discovered, it’s in Ashland, Ohio. That caused a bit of a chuckle. Southern Oregon University is still the name of the college in Ashland, Oregon. When I got the right place, both bookstore and library encouraged me not to stop by on Friday, since that was the day an unusual number of people would be on campus and it would be a zoo—a zoo with a parking problem. So I e-mailed information.
Medford had eight bookstores listed of which some had closed and only one would be appropriate, and that was Village Books where I had stopped last April. I also called the historical society, and e-mailed fellow author and retired SOU professor Dennis Powers. We agreed to meet Saturday for coffee.
I had a busy Wednesday, so didn’t get packed or the Mapquest maps made for most of my stops until Thursday morning. Which meant I didn’t get away until 11:30 a.m. I stopped to eat my packed lunch and made good time since the weather was mild and the traffic light. In Grants Pass, I already had books at Oregon Books & Games and was paid for one that sold. At Aquarius Books & Gifts, I agreed to a future presentation and sold two books, and I sold a book to the Josephine County Library. I felt really positive.
After a fabulous dinner and visit Thursday night, I awoke ready to tackle the world on Friday. But libraries were closed in Ashland and Medford, the people I needed to see at Village Books in Medford and Bloomsbury Books in Ashland wouldn’t be in, and I had been warned to stay away from SOU that day. So I visited the Jackson County Historical Society in Medford, which turned out not to want the book. Then I stopped by the Talent branch library, where I passed out flyers about the 2nd Annual Florence Festival of Books (FFOB), which I did at every library and bookstore I visited. I made some phone calls that day, but overall a bummer day for selling books. I was in charge of dinner that night, and it turned out all right. Virginia is a hard act to follow.
The next day I met with Dennis Powers for coffee at the Talent Café in Talent—a great place. He gave me praise, inspiration, and ideas. He had listed all the places I had, plus a few along with contact names. He also had some great online ideas. He is the author of many books, including The Raging Sea about the tsunami that ravaged Crescent City, which I had reviewed in Oregon Coast magazine. I very much appreciated his time and advice.
Then I headed to Medford reinvigorated and sold books at Village Books. Co-owner Karen Polsgrove even remembered the book I was looking for last April. She still didn’t have it, but I found another by the same author I hadn’t read and bought it. I never seem to leave a bookstore empty-handed. Then I went to the library, which has a fabulous building, and sold a book and dropped off flyers.
Then I stopped to eat the lunch I had packed and headed for Ashland. Wow! What a lot of people. It was the weekend before the 4th of July and the Shakespeare Festival was revving up. The place was hoppin’.
I stopped at Bloomsbury Books, a terrific bookstore, and the owner was not in but I left a copy of the book and info for her to look over as well as flyers. And I bought some postcards. Then I went to the library (old style impressive, see below) and passed out more flyers. It was about mid-80s and quite muggy––felt very tropical. As I walked past Paddington Station, one of my favorite spots to shop in Ashland, I walked in and discovered that they do indeed sell books. So, on impulse, I asked if the buyer of books was in. He was. He liked the book and bought three. I was thrilled. All in all a great day.
To end my stay in Southern Oregon, we went out on Saturday night with a couple of Virginia’s friends for pizza and a good bottle of wine and then came back to her place for a few games of Rummikub (played with numbered tiles and racks) until it got late. That evening it rained so hard that ¾ of an inch was recorded in 45 minutes. That broke the mugginess and it cooled off.
Although, I only sold 12 books in three days, I made several contacts, including about a dozen that didn’t buy yet but are definitely interested. I accomplished my goal of spreading the word. . . . And I had a great visit with Virginia.
TO BUY THE BOOK
Crossings: McCullough’s Coastal Bridges can be yours for $24.95 plus $4.99 shipping. Order from Pacific Publishing at http://www.connectflorence.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. It is also available on the coast in bookstores, museums, and gift shops; in Eugene at the airport, the historical museum, and several bookstores; in Portland at Powell’s and the Oregon Historical Society; in Made in Oregon stores throughout the state; and more and more bookstores, libraries, and museums in western Oregon.
The half-hour interview with Dr. Veronica Esagui for the “Author’s Forum” program on public access TV in the Portland Metro area ended it’s two-week run June 1-14, 2012, but can be seen on YouTube in two parts: Google Judy Fleagle YouTube.
September 29, 10 a.m.–4 p.m., Florence––2nd Annual Florence Festival of Books–an authors and publishers fair held at the Florence Events Center (715 Quince Street, 1 block east of Highway 101). I’ll be there with two books! (If all goes according to plan.)
October 13, 11 a.m. Oregon City––The historic Arch Bridge designed by McCullough reopens in Oregon City on the weekend of October 1314. I have been asked to be part of the festivities and will be giving my PowerPoint presentation at the Museum of the Oregon Territory on Saturday. The actual reopening celebration will be on Sunday.