As far as my book-selling business, 2020 was a disaster. I received 1/7 of what I did the year before. Pre-pandemic, my business model involved venues selling my books and direct sales through events such as PowerPoint presentations, book fairs, craft shows/holiday bazaars, Yachats Farmers Market, and Backstreet Gallery, where I’m a member/owner. Only three venues of about 50 that normally carry my books ordered books, and I attended only one event, Victorian Belles Holiday Sale, where I normally do about 30 events each year. And Backstreet was closed mid-March last year until the end of June and closed January and February this year. When open, it was fewer days each week and fewer hours each day. Far less opportunities to sell books in 2020.
A Book Order – Hallelujah!
So, when I received an email two days ago, March 2, that read, “If I could get 12 copies of The Oregon Coast Guide to the Unexpected that would be great!,” it was great for me too and so totally unexpected. It was from the Friends of the Astoria Column who operate the little gift shop right across from the Column, a historic Astoria landmark.
I took it as a sign that “the times they are a changin’” and that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, finally. I figure, if one venue wants more books, maybe more of them do. So, next week, I’ll send out an email to all the venues––bookstores, museums, and tourist hotspots––that carry my books throughout western Oregon and see if any would like more copies. I don’t expect an onslaught of orders but a trickle. It’s best to be realistic. Nevertheless, I’m excited.
If the Yachats Farmers Market is held this year, I’ll sign up for the summer months like I did for the six years prior to the pandemic. And, hopefully, we’ll be able to hold the Florence Festival of Books this year in mid-September. Can’t have large gatherings yet, and we do it in conjunction with the Florence Events Center, which has been closed for a year. But a lot can change in six months. So, I give that a 50/50 shot. As to holding PowerPoint presentations, not gonna happen until we can have gatherings. I never set these up myself, I was always asked. And I usually did 10 to 15 a year. So, we’ll see.
Backstreet Gallery Reopening
As of yesterday, Backstreet Gallery reopened for the first time this year, except for a few days in January. This is another positive sign that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. This is very exciting to me; I love interacting with the visitors and, of course, selling my books and my cards, too. I’ll be on duty Saturday and Sunday this weekend in the afternoons.
We will have all the bells and whistles of Covid––masks, sanitizing, social distancing, ventilation, and keeping track of total number of folks in Gallery at all times. Nearly all the clerks will have had at least one of their Covid vaccine shots and none of the members who feels uncomfortable working has to work. As more Gallery members receive their vaccine shots, we will open more days. Right now, it is four days a week––Thursday thru Sunday. But the plan is to open Wednesday thru Sunday starting March 17.
Second Covid Shot Scheduled
On March 11, I’ll receive my second shot of the Covid vaccine. I’ll be so pleased to have that accomplished. I will feel even more comfortable working at the Gallery then. My next time to work at the Gallery after this weekend, will be March 24 & 28. By then, two weeks will have passed since my second shot and that is the time it takes for the vaccine to become effective.
New Book Becoming Reality
Since I finished editing the second novel, I have time to work on MY new book, The Cancer Blog, For those who’ve had cancer and for those who haven’t. Now, that putting this book together is MY idea, I’m anxious to work on it, whenever I have a chunk of time. My publisher, Bob Serra, is just as excited about it as I am. He has designed the cover and figured out how he wants to do the inside pages and is ready for the chapters to edit. I’ll be sending him six chapters and their photos tomorrow. And then five more each of the next two weeks. I will still have a cancer info section and the acknowledgments and credits to put together as well as two pages about me and my books that just needs to be updated. My self-imposed deadline is April 1, and I should be able to have everything in by then. My deadline to have it ready for sale is September 1.
For all of these reasons, I see a light at the end of the tunnel. I feel that 2021 will be a far better year than last year for me, and, hopefully, for the rest of the world too.