My normal summers were busy with trips up and down the coast, delivering books for sales, which I’d already arranged over the phone or by email and had the invoices ready. Sundays were spent at the Yachats Farmers Market selling books, every other Wednesday I was at the Siuslaw Pioneer Museum as a docent, and I’d put in three or four days a month clerking at Backstreet Gallery as a member/owner. I also edited the newsletter and press releases and was in charge of receptions every other month at the Gallery.
The rest of my time in summer was devoted to the Florence Festival of Books––regular meetings twice a month and subcommittee meeting more often and, as secretary, I wrote up and distributed minutes and did the agendas. I also wrote many press releases and articles, contacted many of the sponsors, was in charge of the marketing sub-committee, delivered flyers and posters all over western Oregon either in person or by mail to all the venues that carry my books.
What a Difference a Year Makes, Again
2020 was a lost year. When it came to my book sales, they were down by 87%. The Museum was closed, and the Gallery reopened at the end of June last year at reduced hours and only a few days a week. So, I ventured out very little last summer.
This summer, 2021, some things are getting back to normal, others not yet, and some things are just the same as before. Book sales are improving, but not enough to justify long trips up and down the coast. The farthest I’ve driven this past year on the coast is to Yachats. Speaking of Yachats, I’m not participating at their farmers market on Sundays this summer because it’s still at a reduced size, and food vendors have priority.
In every other area of my life, though, things are picking up and I’m keeping busy. Instead of every other Wednesday at the Museum like I had done for 18 years, I’m there every Sunday––hardly anyone wanted Sundays. I’m there with Ellen Bloomquist every single Sunday.
At the Gallery, we’re now open six days a week and later hours on the weekends. I’m busier than ever because I’m the secretary as of last November. So, twice a month, I take notes at Zoom meetings, type them up, and distribute a draft, put in numerous requested changes, and then redistribute. These folks take their minutes seriously! I clerk three or four days a month and continue with the editing. No receptions to plan for yet––perhaps, by fall.
FFOB Still Takes (Almost) All My Time
After a year off, the Florence Festival of Books is back in my life and back to taking up most of my time—just like it always has. After nine years, I am no longer secretary. Hooray! But since my co-chair, Meg Spencer, is the Librarian at the Siuslaw Public Library, she can no longer get away for meetings because of cuts to staff and volunteers. So, I am conducting the meetings and still do the agendas and most of the other stuff I’ve done in the past. Just as busy as ever with the FFOB.
As an example, here’s how this week is going. Monday, I had a lengthy conversation with the other person working with sponsors, Bonnie MacDuffee. That phone call covered enough to be considered a sponsors sub-committee meeting.
Then I prepared for and met (at my house) our newest FFOB planning committee member who is now part of the marketing sub-committee. That’s where we needed the most help. After almost two hours, she left eager and motivated now that she has an idea of what needs to be done. After she left, I typed up her duties with suggested time frames in which to do them and emailed it to her.
Tuesday, I did the agenda and emailed a committee member hoping she can take on some social media commitments.
Wednesday, I need to start contacting the sponsors I’m responsible for. Then Thursday is our next planning committee meeting. It seems like, every day there is something to do for the FFOB.
,As it turned out, my Microsoft Word just plain quit; I couldn’t open documents or create new ones. I could not access the sponsor letter Bonnie and I had updated. So I edited the Newsletter for the Gallery and a press release; then I balanced my checkbook, did my budget for July and paid some bills.
On Thursday, Jolene at FTS Computer Repair remotely worked on my computer and got Microsoft Word back in working order. I was so relieved. And our hybrid Zoom meeting, also on Thursday, worked. The sound was a little difficult at times for the folks on Zoom, but the bottom line is that it worked. So we will continue that way.
There are eight active members on the FFOB planning committee and two past members who will help out when they can. One of the active members recently moved out of state, but still has a home and business here. She can handle the social media, thank goodness, and get the word out on her own extensive mailing list. Zoom works well for her. Two other active committee members work at the Library, and, therefore, have limited time for FFOB this year. That makes three on Zoom, and the other five can now attend in person for our meetings at the Events Center.
The committee is at its smallest size ever and could use more members who live in the Florence area and have time to help plan for and put on the Florence Festival of Books. We won’t overwhelm any new members with too much, and it is fun to be part of such a terrific event. There are many moving parts when it comes to putting on a major event, and we really do need more help.
The planning committee is so pleased that the FFOB has become one of the major events in Florence and one of the most popular book fairs in the state. Mark your calendars for September 17-18. You won’t want to miss it.
Note: Applications open for participants July 12–September 1. Due to social distancing, there will be 48 tables instead of 68. Expect tables to fill up sooner and a waiting list. For more information, check http://www.florencefestivalofbooks,org or call Florence Events Center, 541-997-1994. Applications will be on website.