It is now Sunday, which was once heralded as a day of rest but not for the wicked, as my grandmother would say. Guess I know which list that puts me on. I’m on the cusp of leaving for Costa Rica, in full-blown sales mode, completely caught up in the celebration of the arrival of Walking with Wolf in book form and trying to see friends before I leave for a couple of months. I will sleep on the plane.
The reaction I’ve received from people who have bought the book and started reading is just what I would hope for – they don’t want to put it down. That’s all a writer can ask for – because it doesn’t matter what brilliant thoughts, keen observations, delectable wisdoms or hilarious anecdotes you wrote in your book, if people can’t read it, or don’t want to go beyond the first page, then it’s all for not. So the second stage of publication – receiving feedback – is being met with great positive reaction and I’m breathing easier still.
I have now become a book peddler – fortunately I believe in the book and the story so selling it isn’t so hard. I’m not a natural salesperson – I’d rather give it all away – but after pouring my life and money into this project for so long, I really have no choice – it’s take money or I’ll be pouring coffees at Tim Hortons, and that could get ugly really fast. As the coffee is spilling down the front of the customers, I’d be explaining, “but I’m really an author.” And I can hear what the caffeine-deprived in their stained shirts would be responding…
Ken, the manager at Coles in Jackson Square in downtown Hamilton, was my first book merchant who I dealt with and he was extremely kind, supportive, enthusiastic and gentle. Took the book at a reasonable commission, and told me that Chapters/Indigo/Coles, the cross-country chain, would most certainly pick this book up to go to their stores across Canada. But they take 45%! I reacted quite unprofessionally and a mellow expletive escaped my lips, but caught myself (well, my friend Freda kicking me helped too). Although the writing of the book paid me nothing and the production of the book took a lot of time and money, I’m so glad that I persevered and went this route of self-publishing. What a lift I get everytime someone tells me how good the book looks or how much they are enjoying the read. That’s all my heart and soul and aesthetic on those pages within the smiling Wolf cover – certainly with the professional influence of those who worked on it with me as well as Wolf’s stories and spirit – but the overall product was within my control and I now reap the direct results. And I am really enjoying that. When my friend Lori wrote and said, “You see Kay, I feel that I know Wolf already, feel a little possessive, and I’m only at page 40, so your book is a true success!!” amongst other wonderful comments, well, the satisfaction is overwhelming.
The last few nights have also brought some great music – the musical mayhem of Gallery 435 on Barton Street here in the Hammer, a place that gave me faith that I could survive in the urban jungle when I first returned to the city after many years of living in the bush. I hadn’t been there for ages and am thrilled to see that Ellis’ room is still happening, hotter than ever, a hidden den of bliss. A little dancing on the bayfront in the wee hours under an almost full moon, car stereo pumping out great tunes by local rockers – that was also too much fun. Rocking day and night with the eight-month Lily, the granddaughter of my Mattawa friends Patti and Leo, a gem of a baby and a hot little dancer already – while Steve Earle kept the tunes rolling on Sirius. Don’t ever stop the music she screams! Last night with my wonderful, old, until-recently-lost friends, Dave & Carolyn Stupple and their daughter Beth…we used to do the bluegrass circuit in the 70s and I haven’t seen them since. And here they are again, dropped back into my life, in time for the arrival of the book – another night that meandered through magical musical moments. I just have to get them down to the jam at Gallery 435 – a completed circle. How lucky am I?
But now I really have to get with it, finish arrangements for sales while I’m away, PACK! When you have a chance to read the book, I think you will find that if you don’t already drink coffee, you may have to start. Coffee is a recurring theme in the book because Wolf is such a regular imbiber – and the love of the nectar comes across in the pages enough that it may help boost coffee sales in Costa Rica – but I think I may have to lay off the coffee for these next couple days so I can slow down and concentrate. This will be the last post till I arrive in Costa Rica and meet Wolf at the airport and hand him his life as printed on the pages (100% post-consumer recycled paper pages of course). I will write again when I find a computer with a half-decent keyboard that doesn’t stick all the time – and a chunk of time to concentrate. Hasta pronto chicos!